If you are an out atheist in the U.S., chances are you’ve gotten some level of blow-back for being open about your atheism. Being openly critical of religion can hurt you, professionally and personally. However I’m guessing that the last time you snarked about Noah’s ark on Facebook, re-tweeted the link to a Neil deGrasse Tyson rant, or commented on Friendly Atheist, the idea that the government could come down on you like a ton of bricks didn’t even cross your mind.
Not all of our co-nonreligionists are so lucky, as the Turkish atheist Fazil Say has just learned.
The government of Turkey has decided to prosecute him for insults to Islam. What did he say or do that was so insulting? Did he burn a Koran? Did he urinate against a mosque while singing “Ten foot c*ck and a few hundred virgins“? Did he commit the ultimate sin of naming a plush toy after the prophet Muhammad?
No, he re-tweeted someone else’s joke about the afterlife and poked some fun at the call to prayer:
Likening heaven’s promise of rivers of wine to a tavern and of virgins to a brothel, Say said that it referred to a poem by the 11th and 12th-century Persian poet Omar Khayyam.
A tweet that was written by Say joked about a muezzin’s rapid delivery of the call to prayer, asking if he wanted to get away quickly for a drink.
For this, Say faces up to 18 months in jail. One has to wonder about how secure you feel in your belief system when a couple of vanilla tweets are enough for you to call for prosecution of a dissenting voice. I’m certain that this makes the Islamists feel very powerful and manly, but from my perspective, the fact that they feel the need to so severely police the thoughts and words of their populace is a testament to the weakness of their philosophy and a sign of the actual terror they feel that anyone might point out that the prophet is wearing no clothes.