School of Journalism and Communication: Master of Journalism
I was inspired to write my Masters Research Project about the Christian minority in Tunisia after I spent a year learning Arabic in that country. Tunisia has a population that’s 99 per cent Muslim, so the existing Christian minority is a new phenomenon and they come from a Muslim background.
While Tunisia is seen as a model democratic society in the Arab world, many of the Christians are in hiding. I met a Christian man who was stoned on several occasions and stabbed in his torso. An extremist group had posted his photo on a website. There was also a woman who was beaten by her father and brother when she was seen walking into a Catholic church to get more information. But surprisingly, they told me not to call this persecution.
My Tunisian friends warned me against doing this research because they knew people who had made inquiries into sensitive subjects were often deported or muzzled. But in the end, they gave me advice on how to approach people and how to deal with the government officials.
This research, and the in-depth article that will result from it, wouldn’t have been possible without the support I received from faculty members like Paul Adams and Susan Harada. The faculty helped us every step of the way, sending us information about scholarships and opportunities. It was through the Diane Stuemer Scholarship that I was able to travel to Tunisia to pursue this story.
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