Turkish pianist sentenced to jail for criticizing Islam on Twitter

42 year-old Fazil Say will receive 10 months in prison for his tweets

Published April 15, 2013 2:03PM (EDT)

  (Wikipedia/Serdar Saygı)
(Wikipedia/Serdar Saygı)

After six months since his first trial, internationally acclaimed pianist Fazil Say has been given a delayed 10-month jail sentence for tweeting text what Turkish law has deemed as an insult to Islam.

From the New York Times:

The messages cited in the indictment were Mr. Say’s personal remarks referring to a poem by a famous 11th-century Persian poet, Omar Khayyam, which poked fun at an Islamic vision of the afterlife.

The poem was sent to Mr. Say from another user before he forwarded it.

In another personal Twitter post, he joked about the rapid call to prayer at a nearby mosque, questioning whether the muezzin who makes the call was running late for a drink.

In recent years, several intellectuals, journalists and artists who have voiced criticism about the Islamic government have faced persecution, but the Times notes that social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter "have rarely figured in previous trials."

Say maintains that he has “committed no crime" and has previously said that the accusations go “against universal human rights and laws.”

By Prachi Gupta

Prachi Gupta is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on pop culture. Follow her on Twitter at @prachigu or email her at pgupta@salon.com.

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Fazil Say Human Rights Islam Piano Religion Turkey