Tunisia Reopens Church on Island of Djerba

TUNIS, Tunisia, MARCH 22, 2005 (Zenit.org).- At the request of Archbishop Fouad Twal of Tunis, the government of Tunisia ceded the Church of St. Joseph to the Catholic community of the island of Djerba.

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The prelate told ZENIT that the Foreign Ministry recently announced the concession, citing the increase in the number of tourists to the island, especially Italians and Germans.

The decision by the Tunisian leadership reflects its interest in promoting «the principles of dialogue between religions,» explained Archbishop Twal.

The Tunisian government has controlled the church building since 1964, according to agreements established with the Holy See.

The presence of Catholics on Djerba dates back to the first centuries of Christianity.

About 98% of the country’s 9.9 million inhabitants are Muslim. Catholics constitute about 0.23% of the population.

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