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The Tunisian Republic lies on northern Africa's Mediterranean coast, adjacent to Algeria and Libya, midway between the Atlantic Ocean and the Nile Valley. Despite its relatively small size, its location at the meeting point of three distinct cultures (Arabo-Islamic, sub-Saharan, and European) and its history of openness to a wide variety of contrasting influences, including that of the Berbers, the Phoenicians, the Romans, the Vandals, and the Arab Muslims, made it a center for major world religions, mainly Judaism, Christianity, and Islam early in the religions' histories. This religious diversity has been critical in shaping contemporary Tunisian society on paths that were markedly different from those of other countries in the Muslim world. It helped nurture a culture of religious pluralism while at the same ...

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