While the world watches Egypt thrash around with a revolution, a short-lived democracy, and a new military dictatorship;  while the world watches Ukraine reignite; while the world watches Syria convulse,  Tunisia has quietly written a new Constitution. It says, among other things, that All citizens have the same rights and obligations. All are equal before the law.

I think of Tunisia as being the most European Islamic country but that is probably wrong, Turkey is probably more European Country. However, Tunisia is closer to Europe and it was a French colony (or whatever the French called it). In some ways, the new Tunisian Constitution reflects that French heritage, sounding slightly Declaration of the Rights of Man-ish with The Republic of Tunisia shall guarantee fundamental freedoms and human rights in their universality, comprehensiveness, complementarity and interdependence….The Republic of Tunisia shall be founded upon the principles of the rule of law and pluralism and shall strive to promote human dignity and to develop the human personality.

Part of that high-sounding rhetoric is blunted by other parts of the Constitution like:  The President of the Republic is the Head of State. His religion shall be Islam, but it does seem as if the Tunisians are serious about Freedom of Religion and Women’s Rights when they say The Republic of Tunisia shall guarantee the inviolability of the human person and freedom of conscience, or The state and society shall strive to entrench the values of solidarity, mutual assistance and tolerance among individuals, social categories and generations.

I hope so, it would be great to see an Islamic country protecting minorities and women and it would be good for business.




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