Tunisia | 12 October 2017

Tunisia: Reform enables Muslim women to marry non-Muslims

Show: false / Country: Tunisia / Tunisia
As reported by The Guardian on 4 September 2017, Tunisia has undertaken a legislative reform that is intended to bring the country"s family and inheritance laws in line with its 2014 Constitution: Tunisian women can now marry non-Muslims even if the bride is officially a Muslim. Under the previous law, while Muslim men could marry non-Muslim women, the reverse was prohibited. The new legislative reform also stipulates the equality of men and women in matters of inheritance. The reform has been welcomed by various women"s rights advocacy organizations but has also reaped a significant amount of criticism in the Islamic world, most notably from the Egyptian al-Azhar University, which is considered by many to be the most important center for Sunni teaching. Yonas Dembele, persecution analyst at World Watch Research, comments: "This move is something that should be welcomed from the perspective of Christians in Tunisia. The previous law had hindered many Christians, particularly those with a Muslim background, from marrying in accordance with their Christian faith. This move is a testament to the potential of the 2014 Tunisian Constitution to bring about equality and foster religious freedom in Tunisia. It also shows that the Tunisian government has a notable degree of commitment to these ideals. However, it is unlikely that this move will be emulated by other countries in the region in the near future. Also, despite the change of law on paper, in reality Christians who have converted from Islam will still face difficulties in marrying other Christians, especially outside major urban centers.  


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