Thursday, November 29, 2007

Turkey mulling prosecution of local "God Delusion" publisher

First a caution: Turkey has NOT taken any action yet. But an Istanbul prosecutor is indeed looking into the matter:
A prosecutor is investigating whether to prosecute the Turkish publisher of a best-selling book by atheist writer Richard Dawkins for inciting religious hatred, reports said Wednesday.

Publisher Erol Karaaslan said Wednesday he would be questioned by an Istanbul prosecutor as part of an official investigation into "The God Delusion" written by the British expert in evolutionary biology.

But how does The God Delusion incite violence? Yes, it is anti-religion and it does point out violence in the name of religion - but does that count as incitement? Ah...there is the issue of the attack on "sacred values":
Karaaslan could go on trial if the prosecutor concludes the book incites religious hatred and insults religious values, and faces up to one year in prison if found guilty, Milliyet newspaper reported.

The prosecutor started the inquiry into the book after one reader complained that passages in the book were an assault on "sacred values," Karaaslan said.

Karaaslan said he will be questioned Thursday and faces prosecution both as the book's publisher and translator. The book has sold some 6,000 copies in Turkey since it was published by his Kuzey publishing house in June.

Lets see if Turkey keeps its sanity. It is one of the more moderate Muslim countries, and it would be a huge step backwards if it gets into this unnecessary controversy. There is always a freedom of not reading a book - just don't buy it. But I'm actually impressed that a Turkish press actually published The God Delusion. I was also surprised to see copies of it in some bookstores in Pakistan this past summer. But it was in English and that is ok. Trouble can start only if it ever gets translated in Urdu.

But Turkey was just involved in another idiotic controversy over author Orhan Pamuk:

Pamuk went on trial over his comments about the mass killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks in the early 20th century, but the charges were later dropped. Pamuk was later awarded the Nobel prize for literature in 2006.

On, the positive side, who knows Dawkins may also get a Nobel Prize after this.

Thanks to 3quarksdaily for the link, and read the full story here.