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Taboos in Tunisia - Incest, Homosexuality, pork products, government critics

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Each society has its socially absolutely not acceptable things, also known as "Taboos" and these usually refer to a religious or traditional background. In Tunisia, taboos include in particular:

Sexual activities between
a non-muslim man
and a muslim woman

There are but a few Tunisian women, who are married to non-muslim men and there are even more, who had, for example, affair(s) with male tourists.

However, compared to the number of all women in tunisia, the number of such "offenders" is small.

Both is tolerated by many tunisian women and by the more educated people in general, but it still is socially not accepted (and completely forbidden by the religion).

Tunisian men, especially those of lower to medium edcuation levels, will often openly show their displease and even issue insults when they notice such a couple in the public.

Consumption of pork products

Although there are numerous Tunisians that have eaten such products already more or less knowingly (such as in imported chocolate or fruit gums with pig gelatine), and although there are some who even deliberately, but covertly, eat them (salami, ham, steak), it is an absolute taboo for the vast majority of Tunisians, which triggers usually disgust.

Homosexuality in Tunisia

You can see here and there homosexual couples in Tunisia in the public, but it is a very rare occurence and bears a definite risk, because it is prohibited by law and it is not socially accepted.
It is, however, possible, since it is not unusual for persons of the same gender to live in the same apartment - as long as not one of them is Tunisian.
As soon as such a couple consists of a westerner and a Tunisian, though, it might trigger suspicioun.

Incest in Tunisia

Incest in Tunisia is the involvement of persons of the same family to the 1st and 2nd degree of relation. This incest is forbidden by law.

3rd grade (eg. cousins) and higher relations incest, however, is even amongst the most preferred and accepted relations in traditional Tunisia and happens often in arranged marriages.

Certain combinations are, even though allowed by law, often not socially accepted, such as relations with close relatives of the wife or the husband.

Indecent Exposure

This includes public kissing, more than casual touching of body parts and, for many, especially older residents, even the holding of hands.
At least outside the tourist zones and "international" domestic regions of the big cities, one should refrain from any such behaviour, because it is likely that it will result in vociferous protests or even the questioning / arresting by the police.

In the tourist zones, the lighter forms of the above examples are tolerated, when performed by tourists, but even then one might face sometimes infuriated people.
Entering sacred
sites by non-muslims

Entering the inner parts of a mosque and even most of the entire premises by non-Muslims is not allowed.

If you want to enter a mosque or take photographs, you should first strictly and explicitly verify that this is allowed to avoid any disputes.

Agitation against state or officials

Both is in Tunisia punishable. In the eyes of most people, it is not really a taboo, but for the government, it certainly is.

One should, therefore, be particularly careful in voicing negative comments about the State, its institutions or the President, and refrain from any derogatory actions against the flag or the currency of Tunisia.

Policemen in Tunisia are persons of respect - by law.
Any action against them, even just not following their orders, is punishable and one might be arrested and questioned.

On the other hand, a firm approach to the police is sometimes needed - here, a tourist must try carefully, and from case to case, to find the right path between absolute obedience and open rebellion.

However, any attempts to bribe officials, as appealing it might be and as successful it probably will be, must be strongly discouraged, if one does not want to make himself the target for ever growing demands and desires.

Even after the uprising of 2011, agitation and critics bears a definite risk in Tunisia, specifically if performed by non-Tunisians. Tourists should definitely refrain from all such attempts!

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