BEIRUT

Middle East

Turkish pianist on trial for insulting Islam

People fish in the sea of Marmara in Istanbul.

ISTANBUL: A top Turkish pianist and composer is going on trial in Istanbul on charges of offending Muslims and insulting Islam in comments he made on Twitter.

The trial starts Thursday for Fazil Say, who has played with the New York Philharmonic, Berlin Symphony Orchestra and others. His tweets included one that joked about a call to prayer that lasted only 22 seconds.

Say tweeted: 'Why such haste? Have you got a mistress waiting or a raki (alcoholic drink) on the table?'

Islam forbids alcohol and many Islamist consider the remarks unacceptable.

Prosecutors have charged him with inciting religious hatred and insulting Islamic values. He faces a maximum 18 months prison term, although any sentence is likely to be suspended. Say, a critic of the Islamic government, has denied insulting Islam.

 

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