World-famous Turkish pianist and composer Fazil Say revealed through Twitter a couple of days ago that he was atheist with some added quips much to the displeasure of the more radical populace and the Turkish government itself by breaking an Islamic law that punishes individuals from “insulting religious values”. Fazil Say tweeted that he was “an atheist and proud to have said it loud and clear”. He jokingly added “The muezzin has recited the evenin azan in 22 seconds. What’s the rush? Lover? Raki binge?” along with other statements that implied the Islamic heaven sounded like a brothel.
Say told reporters that
“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.”
Say is right: he SHOULD be proud to have come out of the “atheist closet” but he is unfortunately incorrect in saying that he is the first one to be actually prosecuted as a result of breaking the law for being atheist.
Recently, Indonesian atheist Alex Aan was beaten up by a mob and dragged to the police for
persecution prosecution for “blasphemy” by having heated debates with several individuals on Facebook regarding theology and the existence of the Abrahamic God.
Aan was forced to “choose” one of the officially listed religions of Indonesia to be released during the course of his trial or face “consequences”.
Regarding Mr. Say, insults actually came from lawmakers including Samil Tayyar from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) who called Say a “son of a whore”.
Say is actually a Culture Ambassador for the European Union, an organization that Turkey has been vying to join for a long time. He may face up to perhaps one year in prison for breaking this controversial law.
Say expressed that he wishes to leave Turkey and live in self-exile in Japan to continue his award-winning works. He feels very ambivalent about his conflict with wanting to stay with his close family and continue his performances in nearby Europe and Turkey while wanting to get away from repressive Islam in Turkey.
Although Turkey is an officially secular country, made so by the great Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in 1923, the country is overwhelmingly Islamic and in recent years have become more religious in both civilian and political sectors.