Tunisia (MNN) — The birthplace of the Arab Spring is taking another major step toward democracy. Tunisia has signed a new constitution, henceforth dividing executive authority and removing Sharia law as the main source of legislation.
Seen as a major step in Tunisia’s progress toward democracy, the new constitution was adopted by a majority vote. Along with dividing power between Tunisia’s Prime Minister and President, the new constitution gives equal rights to men and women.
Some concerns remain for Tunisian Christians, though, according to Open Doors USA. The ruling document declares Islam as the official religion of Tunisia, and ambiguous wording could lead to problems.
The new constitution separates Sharia law from the law of the land, but it also appoints the government as “the guardian of religion” and “protector of the sacred.” Some groups fear that this wording is too open to individual interpretation.
“We must remove the vagueness of this article…which can lead to threatening interpretations of citizenship and freedom,” states the Tunisian League of Human Rights.
Pray that unclear language in the constitution will be fixed.
Tunisia is #30 on the Open Doors World Watch List, a compilation of nations where persecution of Christians is most severe. Believers in Tunisia face persecution both from the moderately-Islamic government and from aggressive Salafist groups who operate with impunity in the country.
While expatriate Christians experience a relative amount of freedom, Muslim-background believers face increasing pressure from family and the authorities. Tunisia holds between 25,000 and 30,000 Christ-followers consisting of a large group of expat believers and a smaller community of native-born citizens.
According to Open Doors, Islamic extremists pose the biggest threat to Tunisia’s believers. A number of militant groups have resurfaced in Tunisia since 2011. Groups tied to al-Qaeda are an increasing danger, notes Reuters.
Ask the Lord to protect His followers in Tunisia. Pray that just as the Arab Spring flowed from Tunisia in 2011, a spiritual revival will flood the Arab world in 2014.
In addition, national elections are due sometime in 2014. A caretaker government appointed by Ennahda, an Islamic party that formerly ruled Tunisia, will direct the country until parliamentary and presidential leaders are selected.
Ask the Lord to raise up a stable government that will rule with wisdom and justice.