Concerns Grow Over Converting Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia Church Into a Mosque

June 20, 2013 2:25 pm 12 comments

The Hagia Sophia. Photo: Arild Vågen.

JNS.org - 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.

12 Comments

  • Muslim Turk

    Turkey will stay as a MUSLIM COUNTRY FOREVER whether you like it or not. IT has been conquered by the OTTOMANS and will stay like that until this world ends. Turkey’s economy has been rising and has become a very powerful and strong country whilst Greece and many other European countries are struggling and suffering to pay of each other’s debts. Even the German prime minister and politicians resisted paying debts for Greece and asked them to sell their islands and companies, how insulting for a country to be in such state. That’s Europe two face countries together can’t even reach out a helping hand…THEREFORE First take care of your own country before you even ponder of such possibility of taking over such a powerful country. Referring to Ayasofya is no longer an Orthodox Church it has been a MOSQUE since MAY 29 1453, SO over 560 it has been a mosque/museum not a church…TO ALL THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE HOPES AND DREAMS get over it and look at the realistic side of life. Its so contradicting and ironic how Europe, America and Greece are playing two face peaceful humanitarian right serving countries. YOUR NOTHING BUT PUPPETS AND ONLY TRICK YOURSELVES TO BELIEVE YOUR OWN LIES….people aren’t dumb in this new age. We are well informed even before you take a step so think TWICE BEFORE you think of conquering…GAMES OVER LIARS !!!

    • And Jerusalem is Jewish, because it was reconquered by the israeli army, and it will forever remain jewish, and the mosques on the Temple mount will be demolished and the jewish temple rebuilt. End of islam in Jerusalem.

      • I find it extremely sad that you think that Hagia Sophia and the Temple Mount are the same. The true Israelites, descendants of Abraham, lost they’re claim on the Holy Land when they refused to acknowledge the prophethood of ysa (Jesus) the son of Mary. Also because they’re favorite pastime since musa(moses) peace be on him, was disobedience of God’s law, and murder of the prophets. After enduring the punishment of Diaspora, the “modern” state of Israel has now taken to butchery of Muslims who worship the same God as Christians and Jews, and think they have an eternal claim on the Holy Land, whether they are righteous or unrighteousness.

      • Well said. These people seem to forget that we could end all muslims with the push of a button. They have the mouth of a giant attached to
        the body of an ant.

    • Turkey has only survived because the christian west did not want a powerful country like Russia gaining access to the mediterranean. France and Britain saved you from the Russians. Ever since then Turkeys continued survival was down to playing sides with the more powerful Christian countries. When Turkey sided with Germany in WW1, It gave the British and French the excuse to take there Empire. If the Christians really wanted Hagia Sophia to become a Church again, It would. The only reason its not already is because its an orthodox Church.

  • This is such a BS article. This isn’t America. Turkey is a Muslim country and it can do whatever it wants. Just as they forced the conversion of the Hagia Sophia into a Museum, they can bring it back into making it a mosque.

    I don’t see why people try to get into other people’s businesses into what they should do and what they shouldn’t.

    I bet if it was your country, you wouldn’t let other people decide what should happen to our places of interest.

    • I wonder if Yusuf realizes that the Haga Sophia is no longer a church because at some point in the middle of the 15th Century, a bunch of Muslims got into some other peoples’ business.

      I wonder if Yusuf understands that Turkey was a Christian country until some Muslims decided to get into some other peoples’ business.

      I wonder if Yusuf has ever pondered the reason that Constantinople is now Istanbul. Perhaps it is because some Muslims got into some other peoples’ business.

      • fatima bibi sheikh

        Maybe Yusuf should go back to Turkmenistan and learn a little more before coming out into the big world…not ready for prime time yet.

    • Well, it was built as a church but I recognise that these days we appreciate it mainly as a remarkable architectural achievement, so I’m not interested in it becoming a church again. Why make an issue of it? Why not just let the whole world walk round in awe without imposed values as we do now?

    • Okay then, why some muslims want to pray in Cordoba cathedral? Isn’t it in spain where is a Christian country? This Hagia Sophia Cathedral was built by the Byzantines, the Greeks. May one day when Greece economy revives, the Christendom may reclaim the Constantinople.

    • Petros chambers

      Turkey is the worst country in the world , look back in your history and find one good thing about your country , all you have done is kill people and take over their lands . Konstantinoupoli was Greek an will always be … Maybe we should destroy all your mosques cause you don’t respect anything .

    • Might is right, when you rule the world, you can tell us what to do.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Sports Israeli Soccer Team Faces Prospect of International Ban

    Israeli Soccer Team Faces Prospect of International Ban

    The Israel National soccer team could be facing a World Cup ban, and other soccer sanctions, unless it alleviates travel restrictions and increases field access for Palestinian players and coaches. The head of the Palestinian Football Association is pushing for international soccer’s governing body, the Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA), to issue a ban on Israel competing internationally, claiming Israel’s restrictive travel for Palestinians is equivalent to a form of oppression. “It’s not only the athletes,” Jibril Rajoub explains. [...]

    Read more →
  • Beliefs and concepts Book Reviews Jewish Author of ‘Eat to Live’ Dishes on Health Care, Nutrition, Disease Prevention

    Jewish Author of ‘Eat to Live’ Dishes on Health Care, Nutrition, Disease Prevention

    JNS.org – While the national debate on “Obamacare” rages on past the recent March 31 sign-up deadline, bestselling Jewish author Dr. Joel Fuhrman says the “current disease care model of what we call ‘health care’ cannot possibly be sustained.” “There is simply not enough money available to support a system in which the lion’s share of expenditures is devoted to acute care, with virtually nothing being spent on preventive medicine, i.e. health care,” Fuhrman says in an interview. “To make [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Identity ‘Tears of Color’ Art Exhibit Shows Struggles of Israelis With Eating Disorders

    ‘Tears of Color’ Art Exhibit Shows Struggles of Israelis With Eating Disorders

    JNS.org – “This is how I want to be—without fear. Independent. I want to be like a bird. I want to spread my wings.” So reads part of the description beneath one of the 30 paintings on display until the end of May at the ZOA House in Tel Aviv. The collection represents the first-ever art exhibit of its kind: an exhibit created entirely by Israelis in treatment for eating disorders. Dubbed “Tears of Color,” based on one of the [...]

    Read more →
  • Beliefs and concepts Book Reviews Overprotective or Loving? Daughters Reflect on Jewish Mothers in New Anthology

    Overprotective or Loving? Daughters Reflect on Jewish Mothers in New Anthology

    JNS.org – Rachel Ament noticed that she and her friends often shared humorous anecdotes that were typically variations on a theme: overprotective, worrying Jewish moms who smothered them with love. That included Ament’s own mother. “My mom is probably every Jewish stereotype scrunched into one,” the Washington, DC, resident tells JNS.org. “At the root of all these stereotypical, worrying, overprotective moms, is love.” A social media writer for Capital One, as well as a freelance writer, Ament decided about three years [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Commentary ‎Kosher Lust: Love is Not the Answer (REVIEW)

    ‎Kosher Lust: Love is Not the Answer (REVIEW)

    Kosher Lust, by Shmuley Boteach (Gefen Publishing House, 2014). You really do want to find something positive to say about Shmuley Boteach. He is a phenomenon; very bright, an articulate bundle of energy and self-promotion. Anyone who has the chutzpah to describe himself as “America’s Rabbi” deserves ten out of ten for effort. I believe that along with most Chabad alumni, official and unofficial, he does a lot of good and is a sort of national treasure. In this world [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Theater Hollywood’s Revisiting of Passover’s Exodus Story a Part of Throwback ‘Year of the Bible’

    Hollywood’s Revisiting of Passover’s Exodus Story a Part of Throwback ‘Year of the Bible’

    JNS.org – In a throwback to the golden age of cinema, Hollywood has declared 2014 the “Year of the Bible.” From Ridley Scott’s Exodus starring Christian Bale as Moses, to Russell Crowe playing Noah, Hollywood is gambling on new innovations in technology and star power to revisit some of the most popular stories ever told. “It’s definitely a throwback to the 1950s and early ’60s,” Dr. Stephen J. Whitfield, an American Studies professor at Brandeis University, told JNS.org. Starting with The [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada ‘Jewish Giant’ Headlines New York Jewish Museum Exhibit

    ‘Jewish Giant’ Headlines New York Jewish Museum Exhibit

    Eddie Carmel, dubbed “The Jewish Giant” by American photographer Diane Arbus, is the centerpiece of a new exhibit opening April 11 at The Jewish Museum in New York. Arbus met Carmel, who was billed “The World’s Tallest Man,” at Hubert’s Dime Museum and Flea Circus in 1959 but waited until 1970 to photograph him at his parents’ home in the Bronx, according to the museum. The son of immigrants from Tel Aviv, Carmel posed for Arbus with his head bowed to [...]

    Read more →
  • Music US & Canada Disney Hit ‘Frozen’ Gets Passover Themed Makeover With ‘Chozen’ (VIDEO)

    Disney Hit ‘Frozen’ Gets Passover Themed Makeover With ‘Chozen’ (VIDEO)

    A Passover themed cover of hit songs Let It Go and Do You Want to Build a Snowman? from Disney’s Frozen has attracted tons of media buzz and a cool 65,ooo views on YouTube within days of going online. The work of Jewish a capella group Six13, the track is aptly named Chozen. We are celebrating “our freedom, our favorite festival, our fabulous fans, and aspiring Disney princesses everywhere” the group said. The Chozen music video tells the story of [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.