TUnisia, in Muslim North Africa – the Maghreb, has a 1300-km coastline on the Southern Mediterranean just a shortdistance from Italy. TUnisia has a population of about 11 millions people (11/2007) and stretches on 164,000 km.
TUnisia, officially a republic, is an independent country since 1956 with limited democracy and a non elected head of state, the President General Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who is also the head of the ruling Socialist Destourian (constitutional) Party (PSD). The regime in TUnisia is very stable and TUnisia enjoys a slow steady economical growth.
From 1878 up to 1956 TUnisia was under French control with some limited autonomy. Therefore France culture and language are widespread in Tunisia. Tunisia is a homogeneous country, 98% refer themselves Arabs and almost all of them are Sunni Muslims.
Tunisia has a tradition of practicing Moderate Islam, coexistence with its former large Jewish community. Despite being a Muslim country TUnisia is also one of the few Muslim countries (Azerbaijan and Turkey are two others), that prohibits the Hijab (veil) in government buildings. By government edict, women that insist on wearing the hijab must quit their job.
Tunisia has, since 1991, a compulsory education system for both boys and girls between the ages of 6 and 16 and a relatively high proportion of general studies.
The domestic Islamist radical group, Hizb al-Nahda, which was largely suppressed in the early 1990s’, rejects the use of force.
Relatively to other Muslim countries Tunisia does not suffers from fundamental Islamic extremism although some TUnisians are involved, in small numbers, in the Global Jihad.
Tunisians who joined Jihady organizations in TUnisia were swiftly handled by the efficient local security service.
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