Freedom of Expression

Chilled Turkey

Pianist Fazil Say is still awaiting the outcome of charges against him for insulting religious values. A TV channel has been fined in Turkey for airing a blasphemous episode of The Simpsons in which a Bible is burnt and a character is encouraged to commit murder in the name of religion. Another show, this time a home-grown series about Suleiman, has attracted the ire of Prime Minister Erdogan.  He deplored the scenes of drinking and dalliance, protesting in Suleiman’s defence that:

“He spent 30 years of his life on the horseback, fighting wars and conquering cities.”

Erdogan has threatened action against the programme’s makers, and his remarks have caused Turkish Airlines to block it from their in-house channels.

“We’ve alerted the authorities on this and we await a judicial decision on it,” Erdoğan said. “Those who toy with these values should be taught a lesson within the premises of law.”

In neighbouring Greece the situation is also pretty dire, and in India a rationalist is under attack:

Edamaruku’s perfectly logical explanation of ‘tears’ dripping from a statue of Christ at a church in Mumbai being the result not of a ‘miracle’ but of capillary action sucking up drain water from a leaky pipe, and therefore a health risk to devotees drinking it, was considered a blasphemy. He has been charged under Section 295(a) of the Indian Penal Code for ‘deliberately hurting religious feelings and attempting malicious acts intended to outrage the religious sentiments’.

While in Pakistan, of course, blasphemy hits the news with depressing regularity.

On a more positive note, Holland looks set to revoke its blasphemy laws.

Hat Tip: Critical Dragon

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