Turkish pianist under investigation for ‘offending’ tweets about religion

Turkish pianist under investigation for ‘offending’ tweets about religion

Fazil Say, a Turkish-born pianist and composer, is the latest Middle Eastern Twitter user to find himself targeted for statements made on the social network, reports the National Turk.

Like his predecessors in KuwaitIndonesia, and Saudi Arabia, Say has been accused of making statements that are offensive to Islam, and as a result is facing investigation. According to the National Turk, the list of accusations also includes offending Christianity and Judaism, abusing Muslims and causing public resentment.

Today’s Zaman reports on what the pianist said on Twitter, as the tweets have since been deleted:

Say sent controversial tweets questioning whether heaven in Islamic belief is like a brothel or pub because the Qu’ran says there are rivers of drinks and houris [very beautiful women] in heaven for those who commit good deeds while they are on earth.

Say also tweeted about a muezzin who recited the evening call for prayer in 22 seconds, questioning whether he was in a rush to reunite with his lover or go to the rakı table.

The prosecutor’s office is investigating Say, on the basis of Article 216 of the Turkish Penal Code, meaning that the pianist could possibly face a prison sentence of anywhere from six months to three years:

Anyone who openly incites sections of the population to enmity or hatred towards another group on the basis of social class, race, religion, or sectarian or regional difference, in a manner which may present a clear and imminent danger in terms of public safety shall be sentenced to imprisonment of from one to three years.

The Article goes on to say:

Anyone who openly denigrates the religious values of a part of the population shall be sentenced to imprisonment of from six months to one year, where the act is sufficient to breach public peace

The Turkish pianist studied at the Robert Schumann Institute in Düsseldorf, and has over 67 compositions to his name.

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