Sunni and 2% Shia and it has little problem with fundamentalism. Tunisia and Morocco do not use sharia law in their legal systems, while Egypt utilizes it in issues of personal concern, such as marriage, divorce, and other family matters. All other civil and criminal law is secular there. There does not seem to be much enthusiasm in Morocco or Tunisia for the imposition of “Sharia Law” and indeed both countries seem to be further along in liberalization of the societal norms over all.
E MPIRES OF I NFLUENCE IN N ORTH A FRICA
Alexander the Great (336-323 BC) The Empire of Alexander the Great (from 336 BC to 323 BC) included Egypt but not Tunisia and Morocco, but the Roman Empire (from 31 BC to 476 AD) subsumed them all. All three were also under the influence of the Greek Byzantines after the fall of the Roman Empire. The Ottoman Empire stretched to include Egypt and Tunisia, but apparently did not reach Morocco (from 1683 A.D to 1922 AD). Both the Spanish (1402 to 1982) and Portuguese (from 1415 to 1999) Empires included periods of influence in what is now Morocco but did not directly touch either Tunisia or Egypt. However, there is evidence of Spanish and Portuguese influence in Tunisia since Arabs who had been living in those two countries before their Reconquest by the Christians forced them to flee across the Mediterranean. The British Empire (1583 to 1982) included what is now Egypt but did not reach further across North Africa. The French (1605 to 1962) had control of Morocco during the time of their hegemony over parts of North Africa, but relinquished it in 1956. Interestingly enough, though Egypt was the most powerful and long lasting ancient civilization, it never became an Empire in that the Pharaohs were never interested in establishing colonies or expanding their territories beyond the Nile. Many Egyptologists credit this reluctance towards expansionist activity to the power of the ancient Egyptian religious beliefs that made the people, from Pharaohs on down the societal ranks, afraid to live anywhere but Egypt. Their strong conviction that they must be buried on the west bank of the Nile in order to enter the afterlife and eternity made them very poor candidates as colonists.
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