Voices grow louder in Turkey to convert Hagia Sophia from a museum back to mosque

Source: Los Angeles Times

BY Umar Farooq

As the time for afternoon prayers approaches, Onder Soy puts on a white robe and cap and switches on the microphone in a small 19th century room adjoining the Hagia Sophia.

Soon, Soy’s melodic call to prayer rings out over a square filled with tourists hurrying to visit some of Turkey’s most famous historical sights before they close for the day.

The room Soy is in — built as a resting place for the sultan and now officially called the Hagia Sophia mosque — fills up with around 40 worshipers, drawn not by the modestly decorated space itself, but by the ancient building it shares a wall with.

Built by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I in AD 537, the Hagia Sophia was originally a Greek Orthodox basilica and one of the most important churches in all of Christendom. It became a mosque in 1453 after the Ottoman Empire defeated the Byzantines and took over Constantinople.

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2 replies

  1. This is unfortunate. There are so many mosques in Istanbul. We need every thing we can have to promote secularism and interfaith tolerance in our divided world.

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