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Atheist pianist quits Turkey over rise of Islam

The Turkish composer and pianist Fazil Say told a press conference this morning that he was emigrating from his homeland because of what he called the rise of conservative Islam and a ‘growing culture of intolerance’.

‘When I said that I was an atheist, everyone insulted me and the legal authorities jumped on everything that I wrote on Twitter. I am perhaps the first person anywhere in the world to be the object of a judicial inquiry for declaring that they are an atheist,’ he claimed.

Say, 41, is hoping to settle in Japan.

Read on here and here. And listen here:

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  1. I think your headline is a little disingenuous. Fazil Say say he is emigrating not because of Islam, but because of CONSERVATIVE Islam. Conservative christianity, judaism, any other religion can be just as bad if once they are allowed any power. I am religious myself and perhaps have an insider view of the pernicious effect of puritanism in religion.

  2. I don’t think I’ve come across that liberal strand of Islam yet. Is it the one where they don’t protest over dumb cartoons or fictional book publications?

  3. Fazil Say should remember that Turkey was MUCH more intolerant of religious and political beliefs before this government came along. Turkey is a way better place now for freedom of speech. He just needs to be tactful, and not a complete buffoon in a country whose population is 99.9% Muslim. Idiot.

    • Turk down under says:

      Why should it be any different for some one to proclaim he’s an Atheist any more than if he proclaimed he was Jewish,Christian or Muslim??? that would have to be the height of intolerance, surely?

    • Intolerance of the Atatürk-Style secularists does not give the AKP-government the right to be intolerant themselves.

      Freedom of Religion necessarily includes freedom for atheists as well. And the freedom to express one’s beliefs is not a question of missing tact but of essential human rights.

  4. Ameer Raschid says:

    Muslims of all shades have been on the receiving end of a narrow and sometimes violent radical secularist undemocratic state ideology and military backed personality cult. They have been marginalized, isolated for trying to maintain a religious life style that is condemned as trying to return to the middle ages and anti-modern preventing. turkey from progressing when it is the intolerant brainwashed elite and military which continued to preserve an outdated economic model and suppress and oppress through coups and threats which used imprisonment, torture and murder in the name of saving the state from an Islamic revival characterized as anti-secular and reactionary by those who are indifferent to Islam and social equality. Women and girls are prevented from work and education because they choose to adopt a conservative dress or life style that is based on Islamic principles. The military monitors the wives of soldiers to discharge non-commisioned and commisioned soldiers as disloyal and perceivs bureaucrats as attempting to undermine the state. How many secularists or Kenmalists
    have been imprisoned, tortured or murdered by this conservative government? Fear mongering by flag waving elite who want to maintain their stranglehold on the masses and Islamic intellectuals and entrepreneurs that want a balanced society that exists in liberal secular society like in the US not like the anti-religious one in France. Mutual respect or tolerance of differences and a competition in the political arena is distasteful for the elite who ideologically crippled and offer nothing but opposition and rejection. He is a case of a rat that perceives the ship of state as sinking because of the winds of change that are blowing that threaten to clean out its comfotable but threaten its nest.

  5. Turk down under says:

    I guess one by one Turkey will lose its talent, intellectuals, scientists. What a shame. How far is religion (any religion) going to hold the human race back.

  6. Fazil Say’s departure from Turkey will be that country’s loss and the gain of wherever he emigrates. I wish him and his family well.

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