Turkish Pianist Fazil Say Charged with Insulting Islam

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A Turkish court has formally charged an internationally known Turkish pianist and composer with insulting Islamic religious values in comments he made on Twitter.

The court in Istanbul voted Friday to approve an indictment against Fazil Say, who has played piano with the New York Philharmonic, Berlin Symphony Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic, National Orchestra of France, and Tokyo Symphony.

The 42-year-old Say faces charges of inciting hatred and public enmity, and insulting "religious values." Say, who has served as a culture ambassador for the European Union, allegedly mocked Islamic beliefs about paradise.

Meltem Akyol, a lawyer for Say, says the pianist has denied the charges. She says the opening trial will be held on Oct. 18.

Say could face a maximum one-and-a-half years in prison if he is convicted.