Bahadır Baruter, a Turkish cartoonist who allegedly mocked Islam in a caricature, will now face trial for “insulting the religious values adopted by a part of the population,” reports Hurriyet Daily News. The cartoon, which appeared in the weekly humour magazine Peguen, depicted a group praying at a mosque. A hidden message on the wall of the mosque read, “There is no Allah, religion is a lie.”
Turkish Religious Affairs and Foundation Members’ Union filed complaints about the cartoonist, which were upheld by the country’s chief prosecutor.
It is not the first recent instance of religious censorship imposed by Turkey’s traditionally secular government, currently led by Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
In April, the Guardian reported that an unfinished book about the links between the police and a religious brotherhood led by the exiled Turkish imam Fethullah Gülen was censored by the government. The writers of the book were also arrested.
Erdogan has gained praise recently for being a proponent of secular government in religious nations. However, he has also come under fire for not following through on his ideals in his own country.
Indeed, Hurriyet Daily News reported earlier this year that concern was growing in Turkey after a public survey on religious views was carried out. Some feared that the survey was merely a way of backing up the government’s religious sentiments and giving room to draft a new constitution with a new definition of secularism.
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