Concerns Grow Over Converting Istanbul’s Ha gia Sophia Church Into a Mosque
Concerns Grow Over Converting Istanbul�s Hagia Sophia Church Into a Mosque
June 20, 2013 2:25 pm
-/ Amid fears in Turkey of the Islamist policies of Prime Minister Recep
Tayyip Erdogan, concerns are growing over a government commission to
convert the historic Hagia Sophia Church of Istanbul into a mosque.
�The desire to turn Hagia Sophia into a mosque is not about Muslims
wanting a place to pray�as of 2010, there were 3,000 active mosques in
Istanbul alone. Rather, it�s about their reveling, and trying to
revivify, the glory days of Islamic jihad and conquest,� Shillman Fellow
Raymond Ibrahim recently wrote, /PJ Media/ reported.
The current church was built in 537 CE during the reign of Byzantine
Emperor Justinian and became the seat of the Orthodox patriarch of
Constantinople until the Ottoman invasion in 1453, when it was converted
into a mosque. Then, following the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire
after World War I, Turkey�s secular leader, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk,
converted the mosque into a museum.
But today, Turkey�s Islamist government is looking into reconverting the
museum into a mosque. Turkey�s /Hurriyet News/ reported last February
that a parliamentary commission is considering an application to turn
the Hagia Sophia into a place of Muslim worship.
Following the announcement, Turkey�s Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I of
Constantinople stated, �We want Santa Sofia to remain a museum,�
/Catholic Culture/ reported.
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