Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

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

June 20, 2013 2:25 pm 13 comments

The Hagia Sophia. Photo: Arild VÃ¥gen.

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.

13 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.

    • Xi Chi Stigma. Even Muslims recognize Allah as the greatest deceiver. That makes them among the dumbest people on Earth today. Congrats.

  • 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...

  • Blogs Book Reviews Can ‘Islamic Reformation’ Work? (REVIEW)

    Can ‘Islamic Reformation’ Work? (REVIEW)

    It is cocktail hour on an April afternoon in 2004. The sun is hot on Amsterdam’s canals, and I am sitting at Café den Leeuw on the Herengracht with Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Hirsi Ali is still a member of the Dutch Parliament, and we talk about Islam. Specifically, we talk about the concept of “moderate Islam,” or what she calls “liberal Islam.” And she has one word for it. “It’s absurd,” she says. “It’s complete nonsense. There is no ‘liberal […]

    Read more →
  • Food Jewish Identity A Look at the Vilna Vegetarian Cookbook (REVIEW)

    A Look at the Vilna Vegetarian Cookbook (REVIEW)

    Everybody knows that cooking varies from country to country. There are Italian restaurants, Chinese restaurants, etc. We associate different styles of cuisine with different languages. Do we also think of the association of different cuisines with different dialects? We should, because cooking also varies from region to region. Litvaks and Galitsyaners have their own traditions of preparing gefilte fish. Marvin I. Herzog, in his book The Yiddish Language in Northern Poland: Its Geography and History (Indiana University, Bloomington, and Mouton & Co., The […]

    Read more →
  • Relationships US & Canada Analysis: Jewish Women Less Likely Than Catholics to Take Husband’s Name

    Analysis: Jewish Women Less Likely Than Catholics to Take Husband’s Name

    An analysis of New York Times wedding announcements showed that women married in Jewish ceremonies were less likely to take their husband’s last names than those married in Roman Catholic ceremonies, the Times reported on Saturday. The largest gap between the two groups was in 1995 when 66 percent of Catholic women took their husband’s names and 33 percent of Jewish women did the same. Nearly half of the women featured in the publication’s wedding pages since 1985 took their husband’s name after marriage, while about […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Jerry Lewis, Legendary Jewish Comic and Humanitarian, Stays Relevant at 89

    Jerry Lewis, Legendary Jewish Comic and Humanitarian, Stays Relevant at 89

    JNS.org – Through appreciation of both his comedy and humanitarian work, legendary Jewish entertainer Jerry Lewis is staying relevant at age 89. The only comic to ever be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, Lewis added another award to his trophy case in April, when he received the 2015 Distinguished Service Award from the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB). Gordon Smith, NAB’s president and CEO, said the organization was “honored to recognize not only [Lewis’s] comedic innovation, but also his remarkable […]

    Read more →
  • Europe Sports Israeli Gymnasts Win Bronze, Silver Medals at 2015 European Games in Baku

    Israeli Gymnasts Win Bronze, Silver Medals at 2015 European Games in Baku

    Israeli athletes marked a successful day on Sunday, as gymnasts won multiple bronze and silver medals in the 2015 European Games in Baku. The Gymnastics team won two silver medals and one bronze in group events, while Neta Rivkin, an Israeli Olympic gymnast, won bronze for the Solo Hoops event. Sunday’s gymnastics wins follow Sergey Richter’s bronze on June 16 for the Men’s 10 meter air-rifle, and Ilana Kratysh’s silver for women’s freestyle wrestling. The 2015 European Games in Baku are […]

    Read more →
  • Theater Report Highlights Success of Russian-Jewish-American Ballroom Dancers

    Report Highlights Success of Russian-Jewish-American Ballroom Dancers

    Russian-American Jews are some of the most successful ballroom dancing competitors in the U.S., South Dakota Public Broadcasting (SDPB) Radio reported on Thursday. Jonathan Sarna, a professor of Jewish history at Brandeis University, said their success can be traced back to Jewish discrimination in the former Soviet Union. Because of the prejudice they faced, Russian Jews had to perform better than their peers in every field, including dancing, in order to have a chance of getting ahead. “They knew that if they […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada Israeli Dancer With Shofar, Prayer Shawl Wows ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ Judges (VIDEO)

    Israeli Dancer With Shofar, Prayer Shawl Wows ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ Judges (VIDEO)

    An Israeli dancer made use of Jewish props in an extraordinary routine that left judges amazed when he auditioned for season 12 of TV dance competition So You Think You Can Dance on Monday. At first, the panel of judges appeared confused when Asaf Goren, 23, began his audition in Los Angeles with a tallit (prayer shawl) over his head and the blowing of a shofar, which he explained “opens the sky” for people’s prayers. However, as soon as he started his “Hebrew breaking” performance, […]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada Jewish Hoops Fairytale Falls Short as David Blatt’s Cavaliers Drop Game 6

    Jewish Hoops Fairytale Falls Short as David Blatt’s Cavaliers Drop Game 6

    JNS.org – A fairytale ending to Jewish basketball coach David Blatt’s first season in the National Basketball Association (NBA) was not meant to be, as the Blatt-led Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday night dropped Game 6 of the NBA Finals to the Golden State Warriors, 105-97, to lose the best-of-seven series 4-2. Blatt, who just last year coached Israel’s Maccabi Tel Aviv franchise to a European basketball championship, failed to finish a second straight hoops season on top. But after the Cavaliers began the NBA […]

    Read more →