Section III. Status of Societal Respect for Religious Freedom
In December the Tunisian National Library, in cooperation with the Laboratory for Tunisian Cultural Heritage at the University of Manouba, organized an exhibition on the lessons of Nazi propaganda and reducing susceptibility to extremist messaging. The exhibition was linked to the commemoration of the round-up of Tunisian Jews under the Nazi occupation during World War II. According to media reports, the timing of the December opening of the exhibition was changed after a small number of primarily university staff staged a demonstration to denounce the exhibition launching at their university. During the ensuing demonstration, the protesting staff members shouted “Free Palestine, out with the Zionists,” and exploited the media presence to express their personal beliefs denying the Holocaust. The incident was not covered by local media and, following its opening in Tunis, the organizers of the exhibit continued a planned tour of the country where the exhibit and the accompanying educational programming and workshops for teachers were hosted by schools and cultural centers.
According to media reports, some atheists reported receiving family and societal pressure to return to Islam or conceal their atheism, including, for instance, by participating in fasting during Ramadan and abstaining from discussing religion and criticizing Islam. Converts to Christianity reported strong family and societal rejection and some of them were reportedly beaten and forced to leave their homes on account of their beliefs.
In October the Bahai Faith community hosted for the first time two public events in Tunis, including a celebration of the 200th birthday of Baha’u’llah, which were attended by journalists, leaders of local human rights groups, religious leaders of different faiths, and some government officials and parliamentarians.