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Hagia Sophia to become a mosque again?

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Persistent rumours suggest Hagia Sophia will be turned into a mosque

Istanbul (AsiaNews) – Increasingly, rumours are circulating about the future transformation of the Cathedral of Saint Sophia into a mosque. This is worrisome because two other temples, also dedicated to Saint Sophia, were recently transformed from museums into mosques. The two churches in question are Hagia Sophia in Nicaea (Iznik), where the first ecumenical council was held, and Hagia Sophia in Trebizond (Trabzon).

Hagia Sophia in Nicea, scene of the ecumenical council that wrought the Nicene Creed.

For the record, with the fall of Constantinople (1453), all of the city’s churches were converted into mosques, but with the advent of the Turkish Republic in 1923, the most important monuments were turned into museums.

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Posted by on August 31, 2013. Filed under Arab World,Asia,Middle East,Mosque,Muslim Heritage. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

9 Responses to Hagia Sophia to become a mosque again?

  1. Rafiq A. Tschannen

    August 31, 2013 at 4:17 am

    I see no harm in it.

  2. Hanz

    September 2, 2013 at 5:00 am

    Arent muslims commanded to protect all houses of worship? If we go around converting churches into Masjids, this is what we should expect from the world.

  3. Robert Adams

    September 23, 2013 at 5:30 pm

    It should be returned to what it was originally -- A Christian church. That is, if the Turks ascribe to what is presented here so frequently on this site that Islam respects other religions and there is no compulsion of religion. It was a church for 434 years longer than it was a mosque.

  4. Ghulam Sarwar

    September 23, 2013 at 11:54 pm

    It is not a question of a longer period or shorter period. We must see if it was first made as mosque or church?? Does it look like a mosque or Church??

    We have churches in Europe and Asia. We have mosques too. Does Hagia Sophia look like a church or mosque?? That should be an easy way to decide this matter. Are there enough Christians in that city to make use of the place as a church?? Or the Muslims will successfully populate that building for prayers??

    I hope Muslims will make good use of it for five daily prayers. The Christians should be allowed to perform their prayers in some part of the building.

  5. Robert Adams

    September 24, 2013 at 2:48 am

    @Ghulam Sarwar; I fail to see how the Hagia Sofia’s appearance should make a difference. I find that rationale puzzling. It was built in 537 C.E. as a Christian church. As to the number of Christians in the city, how and why should that matter? It was originally a church and only became a Mosque through violent conquest. If the situation was reversed, would not Muslims want the building restored as a Mosque? I am not a Muslim, but I would support that. If there are any former Mosques that are now churchs, I would support any Muslim desires to have them restored to their former purpose. This is all about respect for the faith and beliefs of others as it is so written and supposedly espoused.

  6. Ghulam Sarwar

    September 24, 2013 at 9:43 am

    Yes, Robert Adams, you win. It was built as a church long ago. Due to political changes it was converted into a mosque. Such things have been happening in many places in the past. An example is the greatest mosque in Cordoba in Spain which is turned into a museum even now. And all (Many, many) mosques in Spain were converted into churches long ago.

    Hagia Sophia did not have minarets originally. Many changes were made to make into a mosque. The case has become complicated. What do you suggest should be done. Should the changes made by Muslims be undone?? The minarets and all (interior) changes? And the building be handed over to the Church??

    It would be too much ado. Or should it be left as it is now, as a Museum? As a piece of history for the wanderers to see an old relic??

    Please remember that it is a place of worship. The Muslims are the great worshipers and they need more mosques. The Churches are being sold in many countries. Keeping Hagia Sophia as a mosque will serve the purpose for which it was built long ago. Keeping it as a Museum will not serve the purpose of original builders (Christians). Please think over and comment.

  7. Anon

    September 24, 2013 at 11:01 am

    Why not make this an oppotunity for peace.

    Why not accomodate both Christians & Muslims and divide the church depending on level of demand. Let’s make this world a better place

  8. Robert Adams

    September 24, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    @Anon (and Ghulam Sarwar) Sharing the Hagia Sophia would be a marvelous idea. I’m not sure how that could be arranged to satisfy all concerned, but it would certainly be worth a try. An idea would be to give it to UNESCO and have it maintained by them as a shared site for all. As to the Grand Mosque in Cordoba (as well as other mosques in Spain) one must remember that Iberia was a Christian land that was invaded by Muslims and much later regained by the Spanish. And, I believe that there are by far more instances of Muslim conversions of other religions’ buildings into Mosques than the opposite as is detailed in this article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conversion_of_non-Muslim_places_of_worship_into_mosques.
    Can anyone cite any instances of Mosques in current Muslim lands that are now churches or other religious buildings by way of conquest? I highly doubt it, but I would certainly be interested to know. The bottom line, though, as Anon said is that the world needs to give peace and tolerance a chance. That includes everyone. BTW, I am very much aware that the Hagia Sophia was sacked and desecrated by Latin Christian crusaders while it was still an Eastern Orthodox church. Peace to all, I exclaim!

  9. elias perdicologos

    December 17, 2013 at 6:55 am

    aghia Sofia has been a museum for quite a few years. why, now, all of a sudden there s talk about converting it into a mosque? is politics come into play? if turkey really wants to join the european union, it must show a shift from its past, by withdrawing from Cyprus, by reopening the chistian college in Halki, and if they want to convert aghia sofia into a mosque, to discuss with the orthodox ecumenical patriarchate the possibility of co existence in that magnificent edifice of christianity

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