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 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.

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...

  • Arts and Culture US & Canada Israeli Actress Gal Gadot in Talks to Star in Ben-Hur Remake

    Israeli Actress Gal Gadot in Talks to Star in Ben-Hur Remake

    Israeli actress Gal Gadot is in negotiations to take on the female lead role in the remake of the 1959 classic Ben-Hur, according to The Hollywood Reporter. If the deal is finalized Gadot will play Esther, a slave and Ben-Hur’s love interest. Actor Jack Huston will star as the Jewish prince who is betrayed into slavery by his childhood friend Messala, played by Toby Kebbell. Ben-Hur fights for his freedom and vengeance with the help of Morgan Freeman’s character, who trains Ben-Hur how to win at chariot-racing. [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Sports Young Israelis Try to Crowd-Fund Their Way to Major League Baseball Playoffs

    Young Israelis Try to Crowd-Fund Their Way to Major League Baseball Playoffs

    JNS.org – Baseball, hot dogs, and apple pie are the American dream. So why do two young men who have built their lives in Israel have a GoFundMe crowd-funding webpage with the urgent message that they need $3,000 to travel to the U.S. to watch the Kansas City Royals and Baltimore Orioles square off for Major League Baseball’s (MLB) American League championship? Brothers Naftali and Yoni Schwartz, 27 and 25, respectively, are Kansas City natives. Even though they made aliyah with their [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Sports Race Cars Speed Through Jerusalem in Amazing Exhibition

    Race Cars Speed Through Jerusalem in Amazing Exhibition

    Some 3,000 years ago, King David probably never imagined cars racing at 240 kilometers per hour (150 miles per hour) through the ancient capital of the Jewish people. But on Monday and Tuesday, October 6-7, thousands of Israelis lined the streets to watch Porsche, Audi, and Ferrari race cars fly through the capital against the backdrop of the Tower of David, the Old City Walls, and other city landmarks. The second annual non-competitive Jerusalem Formula One Road Show had been [...]

    Read more →
  • Israel Sports NBA Superstar LeBron James Says He Wants to Visit Israel

    NBA Superstar LeBron James Says He Wants to Visit Israel

    Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James expressed interest in visiting Israel someday, local news site Cleveland.com reported on Sunday. Speaking to Israeli reporters before the Cleveland Cavaliers’ preseason debut against Maccabi Tel Aviv, the NBA star said he had never visited the Jewish state but “I want to look forward to going there if I get an opportunity to.” When asked by an Israeli reporter if there was “any chance that LeBron James and Cleveland comes to Tel Aviv,” the athlete said [...]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada Florida Rabbi Dominates Former Basketball Star Congressman in Hoops Showdown (VIDEO)

    Florida Rabbi Dominates Former Basketball Star Congressman in Hoops Showdown (VIDEO)

    A Florida-based Chabad rabbi put former basketball star, U.S. Congressman Curt Clawson to shame on the court when the two faced off one-on-one recently. A YouTube video, posted online on Tuesday, shows Rabbi Fishel Zaklos of Chabad of Naples shooting hoops with the Florida politician, who played basketball in high school and at Purdue University in Indiana. The game took place in the parking lot of the Chabad Jewish center run by Zaklos. During the 1-minute clip, Zaklos scores two impressive [...]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada David Blatt’s Cleveland Cavaliers Rout Maccabi Tel Aviv, 107-80

    David Blatt’s Cleveland Cavaliers Rout Maccabi Tel Aviv, 107-80

    JNS.org – Less than five months after leading Maccabi Tel Aviv to its sixth European basketball title, David Blatt, now the head coach of the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers, routed his former team in an exhibition game on Sunday, with the Cavaliers dominating Maccabi 107-80 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. The 20,562 fans in attendance witnessed Lebron James’s first appearance in a Cavaliers uniform since he left the club in free agency for the Miami Heat four years ago. [...]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada Jewish New York Giants Guard Plans to Fast on Yom Kippur

    Jewish New York Giants Guard Plans to Fast on Yom Kippur

    New York Giants offensive guard Geoff Schwartz said on Wednesday that he will not eat anything between sundown Friday and sundown Saturday in observation of Yom Kippur, ESPN reported. “If I was playing, I wouldn’t fast, because I’ve got to be able to fuel myself to play,” said the Jewish athlete, who is on short-term leave due to a toe injury. “But it’s not that tough, really. I’ll eat dinner at 5:00 Friday, then I’ll go to services and I’ll just [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Personalities How a Jewish Leader With 3 Months to Live Created a ‘Seminar’ on Life

    How a Jewish Leader With 3 Months to Live Created a ‘Seminar’ on Life

    JNS.org – What would you do if you found out that you had only three more months to live? Gordon Zacks was a successful businessman, a leader of Jewish life, and a confidante and adviser to President George H.W. Bush. He knew that he had prostate cancer, but doctors advised him that it was very slow-growing and nothing to worry about. Then came the day when the doctors told him his cancer metastasized to his liver, and that he had [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.