Daily Israel Report

Turkish Pianist Faces Imprisonment for Tweets Insulting Islam

Prosecutors have demanded charging an internationally acclaimed Turkish pianist for comments he made on Twitter, insulting Islam.
By Rachel Hirshfeld
First Publish: 5/28/2012, 8:38 PM

Koran (illustrative)
Koran (illustrative)
Israel News photo: Flash 90

Prosecutors in Turkey have demanded charging an internationally acclaimed Turkish pianist for comments he made on Twitter, insulting Islam.

According to reports, Fazil Say, an avowed atheist, is being accused of inciting hatred and "public enmity" and insulting “religious values.”

In one tweet Say wrote, “wherever there is a stupid person or a thief, they are believers in God. Is this a paradox?”

On a different occasion, he tweeted, “After tonight everyone in the country will be an atheist.”

Last month, he sent controversial tweets questioning whether heaven in Islamic belief is like a brothel or pub, because the Quran says that there are rivers flowing with alcoholic drinks and that beautiful virgins are waiting for martyrs and others who commit ‘good deeds,’ noted Today’s Zaman.

The state-run Anatolia news agency reported on Friday that an İstanbul court will decide whether to accept the proposed indictment against the pianist.

Say has performed with the New York Philharmonic, Berliner Symphoniker, Israel Philharmonic, Orchestre National de France and Tokyo Symphony.

He is not alone in being targetted for expressing his conscience via twitter in a Muslim country. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates have also leveled criminal charges - and in some case stiff penalties - against citizens for posts they made on the Internet.