Pop star sparks protests over insult to Islam

Criminal complaints have been filed against Turkish singer Sezen Aksu for allegedly insulting Adam and Eve in a 2017 song

Iconic Turkish singer Sezen Aksu has come under fire from government and religious officials who accuse her of insulting Adam and Eve in lyrics to her 2017 song ‘Sahane Bir Sey Yasamak’ (which roughly translates to ‘Living is a wonderful thing’).

The controversy erupted after the pop diva shared the song on her official YouTube account to mark the New Year, according to the Daily Sabah. Although the lyrics apparently did not receive much attention when the song was released, the news outlet reported that Aksu is being criticized for insulting the couple, who are considered sacred figures in Islam and referred to with religious honorific titles.

The song contains a verse that translates to “Give my regards to that ignorant Eve and Adam.” The lyrics were cited as the reason for a criminal complaint brought against Aksu recently in Ankara for “insulting religious values,” Deutsche Welle Turkish reported on Monday.

“This situation aroused justified anger among those who believe in the religion of Islam. As a matter of fact, there was anger against the suspect by many people on the suspect's YouTube channel, Facebook page and website,” Mikail Yilmaz, an attorney for the complainants, said. He added that Aksu used “derogatory expressions” about Adam and Eve “in a way that could cause public outrage.”

Protesters also staged a rally outside her home in Istanbul while the hashtag #SezenAksuHaddiniBil (Sezen Aksu, know your place) went viral on Twitter, Daily Sabah reported, adding that more criminal complaints had been filed alleging insult to religious values. The violation reportedly carries a prison sentence of up to a year.

The Presidency of Religious Affairs (DIB) also issued a statement on Monday, warning “those speaking about exemplary personalities honored by Islam to be more careful.” Noting that Adam and Eve were mankind’s ancestors, the government body stated that “any careless attitude toward such religious figures is disrespect in the slightest sense.”

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Meanwhile, Mustafa Acikgoz, a lawmaker with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK), slammed Aksu on Twitter for attacking Turkey’s values “under the guise of arts and music,” while prominent cleric Ahmet Mahmut Unlu reportedly called her “an ignorant person who doesn’t know about God’s word.”

Aksu has not commented on the issue yet, but other artists have defended her. Popular singer Mustafa Sandal called her one of the country’s “most important poets.”

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