Hello Everyone!#DictatorErdogan @RTErdogan thugs attacked and threatened me today after Friday prayer in Boston at a mosque— Enes Kanter (@EnesKanter) October 4, 2019
Turkish Government don't even let me practice my religion freely in America let alone my freedom of speech is under attack@FBI@FBIBoston@bostonpolice pic.twitter.com/FH2Ixe6QcY
Kanter, who took to his Twitter account to publicly expose the men who threatened him, has been an outspoken critic of Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan and his policies that limit freedom of speech and religion for years.
He says the people attacking him told him to go to his father's mosque and were allegedly calling him a "traitor."
Last week a pro-gov’t Turkish journalist complained to Erdogan’s son-in-law that @EnesKanter and @tackofall99 visit a Boston mosque every friday and people welcome them cheerfully. He was frustrated. Omer Celik, AKP spokesperson told him they’ve taken notes & “will follow it up” https://t.co/OjU5Cbp6xT— Sıtkı Özcan (@sitkiozcan) October 4, 2019
Last week, a Turkish journalist brought up the fact that Kanter and Fall had been attending Islamic prayer services at the Cambridge mosque every Friday to Erdoğan's son-in-law, who said, through a spokesperson, they had taken notes and would be "following it up".
This Friday, while attending prayer service at the mosque, Kanter and Fall were verbally attacked by two Erdoğan supporters, who were also angry at the mosque crowd.
Ever since taking office, Erdoğan has slowly curbed the population's freedom of expression and religion, imprisoning those -- particularly journalists -- who expose his policies and critique his actions. According to The Guardian, editors of national newspapers now face life sentences for working "against the state."
In the video, a man can be seen filming Kanter as he also records the scene, yelling at him in Turkish.
Cambridge police said they are aware of the video but said a "report has not been filed by any involved parties with the department at this time."
After posting the first video, Kanter posted a second tweet containing a video of pro-Erdoğan supporters criticizing Kanter and his behaviors. The tweet also included Friday's confrontation, but with subtitles.
Today’s harassment is a product of hate speech done 2 weeks ago.— Enes Kanter (@EnesKanter) October 5, 2019
We should never ever let hate speech happen to anyone in America! pic.twitter.com/ozsdoRahFA
Boston 25 News is still working to translate and verify what exactly was said to Kanter in Friday's video.
In the aftermath of posting the video, Kanter issued the following statement to Boston 25 News:
"This happened at Friday prayer and I was shocked to see the thugs outside and verbally attacking me — first I was little irked and later I thought I should record these guys and show the world how intolerant they are — they can't even stand me practicing my freedom of religion here in America. I don't understand people's hatred against me and for no reason. I understand that people disagree with each other and I certainly don't approve Erdoğan's dictatorship policies and they don't agree with me as well, but this shouldn't go beyond this. I shouldn't be feeling uncomfortable or insecure while critiquing anyone, but unfortunately, even in America they make me feel this insecurity. Can you even imagine how people in Turkey feel about this? That's what I'm fighting for — freedom of speech and democracy in my homeland Turkey."
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