Pianist, cleared of blasphemy, receives world secularism prize

The supreme court in Turkey yesterday annulled the conviction of Fazil Say for ‘insulting’ God and Islam. The court voted 4-1 that Fazil’s tweets should be regarded as freedom of thought and expression and should not be punished with 10 months in jail. Fazil’s original sentence provoked an international outcry.

fazil-say

After the decision, Fazil popped up in Paris to receive the international secularism prize from the Mayor of Paris.

Fazil said: ‘Secularism is a concept identified with the Republic [of Turkey] founded by the courageous leader [Mustafa Kemal] Atatürk, in my home country, Turkey. It stood as an upper justice, which has given freedom to a range of philosophical approaches ensuring equal rights to its people dispersed under different beliefs and ethnic origins, both to believers and non-believers, aiming at taking part in the international scene competition in science, arts, sports and many others. However, as you all know, this state of Turkey has been dragged to a tragic change.’

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