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.

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