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Pianist in court today on blasphemy charges

A Turkish court will try Fazil Say today on charges that he insulted Islam. He is accused of publishing tweets earlier this year, suggesting that a muezzin’s call to prayer was cut short so that he could get back to his bottle and his girlfriend. Say’s defence is that he merely retweeted messages sent by others and he committed no offence against public order.

If convicted, he could face two years in jail. It is not yet known whether he will appear in court. Say, an avowed atheist, has announced his intention to emigrate to Japan.

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  1. Unblievable.

    • It is not unbelievable, it is happening right this very moment. I would ponder to say that as a musician plays his or hers instrument, that is free speech. Too bad for the religious! Get over your religion.

      • Well, it’s sad reality, of course. But it’s a shame this happens in a country that claims to be civilised.

        • Civilization? Sort of like the Vienna Philharmonic excluding women and non-Caucasions — along with the Vienna State Opera Orchestra which is owned and operated by the Austrian Federal Government. Or let’s take a look at the Berlin Phil where women represent only 13% of the members. Or let’s ask the Pope when women can become preists. Civilization seems to be a rather flexible concept…

          • Vienna Phil has female and non-caucasian members.
            Anyway, men and women are different. If some think their ideal of music making and particular instrument technique is more often supported by male rather than female physiognomy, and the real world results support their concept, so be it.
            Do you also scream “end of civilization” when in sports men and women compete in separate groups?

    • Good luck with your application to join the EU, Turkey!

  2. I predict that Turkey will acquit him. Turkey cannot afford to lose one of its most valuable artistic representatives, atheist or not.

  3. Sam McElroy says:

    It is madness that a man’s right to believe in myth is not only respected but protected, yet a man’s right NOT to believe in myth, rather to reason and enquire, is subject to a prison sentence, and even death in some parts of the world. And so ignorance and barbarism maintain their ugly grip…

    • I agree totally. It’s about power. You can manipulate and ultimately rule people better, if they are not enlightened and without reason. It happens everywhere, just in different shades.

  4. John Hames says:

    Scandalous in this day and age, but it’s interesting how Islam has noticed that Christianity has been all but ridiculed out of existence in much of the western world, and is clearly determined not to go the same way. I don’t doubt the outcome — leaving this superstitious twaddle behind — will still be the same,but it could take a lot longer.

    • I can only speak for myself, but in my case, religion has been put out of existence by reason and enlightenment.
      Thankfully the rule of (rational) law in the Western world (still) allows me this.

  5. Bernhard Kerres says:

    Fazil Say appeared in court today. The next session of the court in this matter will be in February. Many German Members of Parliament have published a petition to Prime Minister Erdogan to respect the freedom of speech:

  6. Gerald Robbins says:

    The Talmud, which is elemental to the analysis and understanding of the history of Judaism and the study of its Biblical laws, means in Hebrew, “teaching” and also “learning”. It is the essential study of laws as set in the Old Testament. Basically, it gives the individual the right to debate, argue, agree, or disagree, in the interpretation of the laws and commandments set forth in the Old Testament. It is the heart and soul of a people determined to have a right to think, express an idea and argue about its truth or lack thereof. It is a lifelong study of laws associated with human behavior. Fazil Say, as an outstanding artist and deep thinker, should be considered (according to the philosophy exemplified by the Talmud) to have the right to think, agree, or disagree, according to his own conscious thoughts and feelings. It is an imperishable right of humanity.

  7. Stuart Green says:

    Religion causes most of the problems in the world,why do people embrace it?

  8. Anyway, if say is condemned and if the verdict is confirmed by the highest court of Turkey, Turkey will be condemned by the ECHR… Once more….

  9. Some people in the current Turkish goverment seems to be offended by Fazil Say’s continuous negative remarks, mockerings and accusations towards them for the last couple of years. And they can well be pointed as responsible in secretly encouraging certain conservative groups in the country to take these retweets to court (They cannot do this openly, because Fazil is a very popular figure in Turkey and abroad). I second Alexandra’s opinion above. Because she also lives in Turkey and knows the country’s climate she rightly predicts in my opinion that Fazil will not be certainly sentenced to prison. But he will have to pay attention to his words and speeches (and tweetes!!!) more carefully from now on, that’s for sure!!!!
    Serhan Bali

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