I just had a lively few minutes of being spammed by Be Scofield on Twitter. He’s written another article, and wants people to read it. Telling me it was about Atheism+ and interfaith didn’t do the trick, so then he told me he’d mentioned me in it so I might want to read it. Transparent, but effective – ohhhhhhhhhh all right, I’ll go see how you’ve dissed me this time. Fortunately it took only a few seconds to read, and I just said meh (in effect). Disappointing, so he tried telling PZ that he needed to stop doing what he was doing for the good of the whatever. Then he said he wasn’t telling us what to do. Good fun. I looked at his feed; he spammed the article to lots of people – Jessica Ahlquist for one. What’s Jessica done to deserve that?! Nothing.
Back to serious biz. Turkey has put yet another valuable person on trial for “insulting Islam.” How? Climbing to the top of a minaret and shouting “Islam sucks!!” through the loudspeaker? No. Tweeting.
World-famous Turkish pianist Fazil Say has appeared in court in Istanbul charged with inciting hatred and insulting the values of Muslims.
He is being prosecuted over tweets he wrote mocking radical Muslims, in a case which has rekindled concern about religious influence in the country.
But Turkey is supposed to be ”moderate” Islamism. Surely “moderate” Islamism doesn’t want to say that radical Muslims are identical to Islam. Surely it doesn’t want to say that mocking radical Muslims is insulting Islam, just like that – does it? Well apparently it does, but has it thought it through?
Prosecutors brought the charges against Mr Say in June. He faces a maximum sentence of 18 months in prison although correspondents say any sentence is likely to be suspended.
The indictment against him cites some of his tweets from April, including one where he says: “I am not sure if you have also realised it, but if there’s a louse, a non-entity, a lowlife, a thief or a fool, it’s always an Islamist.”
Dozens of the pianist’s supporters gathered outside the courthouse with banners, one of which called on the ruling Islamist-based AK Party to “leave the artists alone”.
Mr Say has played with the New York Philharmonic, the Berlin Symphony Orchestra and others, and has served as a cultural ambassador for the EU.
Egemen Bagis, Turkey’s minister in charge of relations with the EU, suggested the case against him should be dismissed, saying the court should regard his tweets as being within “his right to babble”.
However, Mr Bagis also criticised the pianist for “insulting people’s faith and values”.
That’s stupid. Bad values are bad, and should be insulted.