In April, Say posted controversial tweets questioning whether heaven in Islamic belief is like a brothel or pub, because the Quran says there are rivers of wine and houris (very beautiful women) in heaven for those who commit good deeds while they are on Earth.
Say also tweeted about a muezzin who recited the evening call to prayer in 22 seconds, questioning whether he was in a rush to reunite with his lover or go to a rak? table.
Among Say’s most controversial tweets were, “I am not sure if you have noticed, but where there is a louse, a non-entity, a lowlife, thief or fool, they are all pro-Allah.”
On Monday, the ?stanbul 19th Peace Court ruled that Say’s statements run contrary to the first and third clauses of Article 216 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK). These clauses concern the offenses of “fomenting hatred and enmity among the public” and “insulting religious values.”
The court said on Thursday in its 10-page reasoned decision that it was understood that Say openly insulted values sacred to Islam, Christianity and Judaism such as heaven, hell and houris in his tweets.
The court also said believers in God were referred to as “pro-Allah” by Say and that they were again openly insulted in the words “louse, a non-entity, a lowlife, thief or fool.”
Commenting on Say’s conviction, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozda? said on Thursday that the government takes pride in the art of Say but his remarks are beyond freedom of expression.
“Mr. Say is a great artist. We are proud of his art, but his remarks are insulting to the values of the people living in this country. In my opinion, they [his words] cannot be considered protected within the scope of freedom of thought … It is important to differentiate between freedom of speech and freedom of insulting,” he said.
Also commenting on the issue, Justice and Development Party (AK Party) Deputy Chairman Hüseyin Çelik said on Wednesday that Say was convicted for insulting and slander, not for the expression of his thoughts.