Turkish Cartoonist Faces a Year in Prison for ‘Blasphemous’ Cartoon

This was the cartoon published by Turkish cartoonist Bahadır Baruter in the weekly humor magazine “Penguen”:

The guy on the phone is talking to God, “asking to be pardoned from the last part of the prayer because he has errands to run.”

More importantly, the part circled in red is a somewhat-hidden message that says “There is no Allah, religion is a lie.”

For all that, Baruter is now on trial and faces prison time:

The Istanbul chief public prosecutor’s office charged cartoonist Bahadır Baruter with “insulting the religious values adopted by a part of the population” and requested his imprisonment for up to one year.

Right now, I’m not sure if there’s anything we can do other than raise awareness of this ridiculous overreaction.

But we can always repost this cartoon and give it more attention than the Turkish government ever anticipated…

(Thanks to Uğur for the link)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • RevTheMag

    Please remember this story and point it out the next time you hear that “only Christians are persecuted”.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    People who are afraid of free speech are the deepest cowards of all, and they are the most surely doomed to eventual defeat. When they make the truth their enemy, they have chosen an enemy that never, ever gives up. They can imprison it for a while, but it will always eventually find a way out. 

    A religion that can’t retain its members by the attraction of its own virtues is decrepit and corrupt.  If it has to keep its membership by intimidation, imprisoning or killing anyone who wants to leave, then it is nothing more than a system of extortion. 

    This is not unique to Islam. The very common use of social stigmatization, slander and bullying of those who dare to question the church puts Christianity in the same category as Islam.  The only difference is that Christian methods of coercion have been less bloody in recent history.  Not much of an improvement to boast about.

    • Alpillay

      I wish i had the clarity of Richard wade magnificent reply thank you.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Miles-McCullough/1026691196 Miles McCullough

      There is one way to end the search for truth: nuclear holocaust.

  • Anonymous

    One of the great human rights struggles of the 21st Century will be the struggle to eliminate laws against blasphemy and apostasy.  Every human being has a right to criticize religion and every human being has a right to choose their own religion or none at all. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Landon-Long/9633245 Landon Long

    How much do you want to bet me that none of the people freaking out about that pastor in Iran right now will lift a finger to call for this guy’s release?

  • Newavocation

    Until we deny religion that special privilege of being sacred, sacrosanct or divine, we will never be free to question it’s actions or ethics.

  • Larry Gagnon

    Wouldn’t it

  • Dan W

    Wasn’t Turkey founded as a secular nation? I guess it’s not as secular as I thought it was. Blasphemy laws need to be done away with everywhere.

    • Pseudonym

      Yes, it was. And yes, Kemal Attaturk is indeed spinning in his grave.

  • Anonymous

    Sadly this isn’t restricted to religion and its figures alone. People from history have been elevated to near god-like levels and are loved so much by their admirers, that any criticism is countered by accusations of anti-nationalism.
    For example MK Gandhi and Mother Teresa who have glaring faults in their ideologies (if analyzed critically) are immune to criticism in India. If anyone dares to question the greatness of these people, the apologists crawl out of the woodwork.
    In my opinion, no one; not men, women nor gods, must be beyond subject to criticism.  The individuals who dare to question the norm should be celebrated, not imprisoned. 

  • Anonymous

    I hope this dashes any hope Turkey has of joining the E.U., as it’s been striving to do for some time.

  • Sulris Campbell

    shouldn’t this hurt their standing in the E.U.  in order to become a member each country had to have certain econoimc strengths and social freedoms.  pretty sure this is breakin those entry agreements.

    • GreekDude

      The EU needs the money a country the size of Tourkey will bring to them so they ignore most of the social issues and focus more on the economy so they don’t have another ‘Greece’

  • http://twitter.com/CGmagia nazywam się Rahul

    As u said CHARGED due to” Insulting a religion” .Insulting a religion or racism both is crime, because it can create  a mass hate crimes like riots , you have no right to insult human religious beliefs  he get what he deserved 

    • Alpillay

      Religion and its inherant fascism is an insult to all humanity! especially to all LGBTQ people which i noticed you left out in your response,Which begs the question “what are you hiding???  proof again that we cannot give credit to monotheism for human liberalism,as centuarys of legalised rape and torture of men women and children,homophobia,child abuse mysogyny mind control through fear world wars have proved the exact opposite!. i suggest that you take your mental illness and the harmful hoax that you Have fallen for and shove it were the sun dont shine and where there is no imagenary sky god residing to protect or comfort you. further more watch were you step when addressing the DEVILS DAUGHTER, FOR YOUR SAKE DONT INVITE ME TO DINNER IN ANY WAY SHAPE OR FORM, HOW COMPASSIONATE IS THIS ADVICE WITHOUT gOD.

    • Infidel

      How logically flawed you are. YOUR religion is a disgusting stain on the human world, IT causes the very hate and racisim you wish to avoid. All religion is collective insanity, cultish behaviour without concern for the consequences. But Islam is so pernicious and inherently degrading to to human reason and science that I , personally would use those very weapons of Enlightenment thought against you: I would anhilate you in the name of NO GOD, now wouldnt that be ironic.


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