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Protestors demand that Hagia Sophia become a mosque

June 02, 2014

Tens of thousands of protestors gathered in Istanbul outside Hagia Sophia on May 31 to demand that Turkey’s most famous monument become a mosque.

Completed in 537, Hagia Sophia served as the basilica of the Patriarch of Constantinople until the Byzantine Empire’s fall to Ottoman Turks in 1453. Hagia Sophia was then used as a mosque until 1931 and reopened in 1935 as a museum under the secularizing Turkish President Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

“This is a serious push to break Hagia Sophia’s chains,” said the head of youth association that has collected 15 million signatures calling upon the government to turn the museum into a mosque.

“Hagia Sophia is a symbol for the Islamic world and the symbol of Istanbul’s conquest,” he added, according to a Reuters report. “Without it, the conquest is incomplete.”


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  • Posted by: dancingcrane - Jun. 03, 2014 1:10 PM ET USA

    Let it be turned back into what it is, and what it will always be. One of the most beautiful Churches of all Christendom. It was never really a mosque, but a slave in chains for the Muslim world to show off their conquest. They have no God but Conquest.

  • Posted by: Defender - Jun. 03, 2014 11:29 AM ET USA

    Though a member of NATO, Turkey invaded Cyprus in 1974 and still has not returned the lands they illegally took. Why would they return the Hagia Sophia when they know the US, UN and NATO have not and will not do nothing? The ISIL jihadists have just seized the property of Christians in Syria - where is the outcry?

  • Posted by: geoffreysmith1 - Jun. 03, 2014 7:24 AM ET USA

    The Hagia Sophia is a Catholic church, built as a Catholic church and always intended to be a Catholic church. While it remains in the hands of the Turkish state, it constitutes stolen property and the Turkish government are branded as thieves. We must demand its return to the Catholic Church before Turkey can be admitted to the company of civilized nations.

  • Posted by: - Jun. 02, 2014 6:11 PM ET USA

    Well, it takes a certain kind of mind to conclude that any house of worship might be "a symbol of conquest." Apparently Turkey has at least 15 million minds like that. Imagine such martial language applied to any Christian act in other than salvific terms like "Jesus' victory over death" or "redeeming grace vanquishes sin"? It seems well nigh impossible to reconcile Islamic claims to "religion of peace" with this act of confessional warfare.

  • Posted by: jg23753479 - Jun. 02, 2014 5:40 PM ET USA

    Perhaps the Church should demand Mohammedans return the lands and churches they stole by means of jihad after the 7th century including Hagia Sophia.