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Turkey’s Erdogan Signs Decree Turning Hagia Sophia into a Mosque

Turkey’s Erdogan Signs Decree Turning Hagia Sophia into a Mosque

Crowd gathers outside the 1,500-year-old Byzantine-era cathedral, cries “Allahu akbar.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fTufsM-6MFw&t=14s

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has ordered the conversion of Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia into a mosque. The 1,500-year-old cathedral would open to Muslim worship later this month. The announcement was met with the cries of ‘Allahu akbar’ by a crowd gathered outside Hagia Sophia, media reports said on Friday.

The sixth century cathedral came into Islamic possession in 1453 when Ottoman Turks defeated the Christian Byzantine empire, also known as the Eastern Roman empire. It was finally turned into a museum in 1934 by Turkey’s founding father Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, as part of his efforts to secularize the Muslim-majority country.

The Friday’s presidential decree is seen as a major symbolic act in the overturning of Turkey’s secularist legacy. Turkey underwent a process of secularization in the early part of the twentieth century under Ataturk’s rule. Erdogan has embarked on a mission to Islamize to country since he took power seventeen years ago.

Associated Press reported Erdogan’s move:

The president of Turkey on Friday formally converted Istanbul’s sixth-century Hagia Sophia back into a mosque and declared it open for Muslim worship, hours after a high court annulled a 1934 decision that had made the religious landmark a museum.

The decision sparked deep dismay among Orthodox Christians. Originally a cathedral, Hagia Sophia was turned into a mosque after Istanbul’s conquest by the Ottoman Empire but had been a museum for the last 86 years, drawing millions of tourists annually.

There was jubilation outside the terracotta-hued structure with its cascading domes and four minarets. Dozens of people awaiting the court’s ruling chanted “Allah is great!” when the news broke. A large crowd later prayed outside it.

In the capital of Ankara, legislators stood and applauded as the decision was read in Parliament.

Turkey’s high administrative court threw its weight behind a petition brought by a religious group and annulled the 1934 Cabinet decision that turned the site into a museum. Within hours, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan signed a decree handing over Hagia Sophia to Turkey’s Religious Affairs Presidency.

Hagia Sophia, the Roman Empire’s first cathedral, is particularly sacred to Christian Orthodox believers, represented largely by the Greek, Russian, and Ukrainian Churches.  The decision came as a great shock to the Orthodox world.

Head of the Orthodox church in Greece, Archbishop Ieronymos, called Turkey’s move an attack on civilization. “Hagia Sophia is not only a Christian monument built by Justinian but a world monument with a supreme place in the history of civilization. Where civilization comes under attack, the downfall of human dignity follows,” the Greek patriarch warned.

“Today’s decision, which came as a result of the political will of President Erdogan, is an open provocation to the civilized world which recognizes the unique value and ecumenical nature of the monument,” Greek Culture Minister Lina Mendoni said in a statement.

The Russian Orthodox Church “regretted” the decision. “We have to admit that the concern of millions of Christians was not heard,” a spokesman for the Church said.

The United States has been opposed to any change in status of the historic cathedral. “We urge the Government of Turkey to continue to maintain the Hagia Sophia as a museum, as an exemplar of its commitment to respect the faith traditions and diverse history that contributed to the Republic of Turkey, and to ensure it remains accessible to all,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said earlier this month.

Mosques are not merely places of worship in Erdogan’s Islamic ideology. They play a crucial role in jihad warfare. As he told his followers in 1998: “The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers.”

While European leaders have largely forgotten their Christian past, Erdogan and his followers see themselves as heirs of Islamic conquerors. On May 29, Turkish president held a mass ceremony to mark the 563rd anniversary of the fall of Constantinople. Mass-migration and the resultant demographic shift in the Christian world are seen by them as the latest tactics in this war of Islamic conquest. Erdogan has repeatedly told Turkish Muslim immigrants in Europe to increase their birth rates and become the “future of Europe.”


(Cover image via YouTube)

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Comments

Just a rhetorical question: do the same rules apply to Jerusalem?

With the successful “invasion” of Europe by Islam how can there be any pushback when there is no definable “line in the sand” or “hilltop” to make a stand? Islam does what Islam is commanded to do. The return to a mosque just reinforces the reinvigoration of Turkey on the path to a more devout Muslim country.

The rot from within the Ottoman Empire spelled its doom. The rot within Europe now spells its doom. Rebuilding Notre Dame saves Muslims from having to do it later.

    The Friendly Grizzly in reply to alaskabob. | July 11, 2020 at 4:08 pm

    Too much “turn the other cheek”; not enough ‘onward Christian soldier”.

    Same thing here.

notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital | July 11, 2020 at 2:41 pm

Thought it already was but I guess that just shows how bigoted our media is in covering everything.

tarheelkate | July 11, 2020 at 2:50 pm

I’m glad I saw it. Even so, the outside is defaced with those four minarets, and the inside with a niche pointing towards Mecca and a huge Islamic pulpit. The alcove where the altar stood is vacant.

CapeBuffalo | July 11, 2020 at 2:51 pm

I wonder now. Is this acceptable to the Europeans? Of course they must capitulate , they have already set their course. Do the Americans still supply these increasingly radical Muslims with military and economic aid? Depends on what happens in November. How about the Russians? They can’t be too pleased to have their sacred site mosque-ized BUT they are Russians and may do what I takes to woo another ally.
Brave New World? 1984?

Losing wars has consequences.

its pretty much ruined for infidels now anyways so…bomb it.
serious.
time to either step up or step off.

    JusticeDelivered in reply to dmacleo. | July 11, 2020 at 5:30 pm

    My first reaction was that it should ground zero for a fuel air device when it is full of useless Muslims.

    The only thing CCP has been doing right is to keep Muslims in line.

    Terence G. Gain in reply to dmacleo. | July 12, 2020 at 6:56 am

    Bomb Muslim countries with the truth about Islam. What you propose would be counterproductive. Why would you bomb a great Christian cathedral Instead of Mecca? Islam is an incoherent and irrational ideology and eventually it will be defeated. I prefer the approach of the great Christian genius David Wood who uses this atrocity to teach us about Islamic doctrine and history.

    https://youtu.be/y4NuMemZB0I

I’m sure Trump will take this on with some fearsome tweets.

    fishstick in reply to JasonL. | July 11, 2020 at 4:58 pm

    and I’m sure if he decided to get us in war with Turkey, you’d be supporting that decision

    right?

    this is just like people trying to blame Putin getting pres4life and China taking Hong Kong as somehow being Trump’s fault

    well WTF is the UN doing?

    Trump atleast had his sec of state telling the world of their ploys and throwing sanctions on them, months prior

    and each time without Dem support in either chamber

    What if he does? What does your comment have to do with the issue? Do you think this is a good thing and do you think that there is any respect provided by Islam and Erdogan here?

    GatorGuy in reply to JasonL. | July 11, 2020 at 6:03 pm

    If he can discipline himself enough, he’ll await a public response from each of, or a united address from the several American Orthodox Churches before commenting. And, assuming they or it’s consonant with the other Orthodox-Church comments cited in the present piece, he’ll then step forward to say something, probably conciliatory and not too provocative to either Turkey or Russia, but likely both.

    Noticeably absent from the international event was any word from Rome. Italy might be actively involved.

    This action is complicated, critical, and fraught with international tension, I’d reckon — some buried for decades and now revived; others, always felt, but suppressed at the subdermal level. Many, many millions identify in some manner with this event; and so, there’s a lot of international peace to keep, along with a lot of international conflict to fear.

    Personally, I think the main and final players will be Turkey, Russia, Greece, and perhaps Syria and Italy. Turkey’s current involvement in Libya may be a wild card, and even key here. A new Middle East framework may result. Or, it goes without say, the near-end-result could lead to a new, regional conflict, even with Iran as the surprise-participant. If it’s the Middle East or SW Asia, all sure and final bets are necessarily off.

    At bottom, Erdogan, who’s still mindful of the near-complete coup that almost overthrew his regime in July, 2016, is probably still doubling down defensively, actively Islamizing Turkey against home-grown oppositional (eg, “disloyal” journalistic) elements in its midst. It looks and probably is good politically for him that he tries, anyway; and, by some accounts, he’s managing well to succeed. With a good number of Turkey’s electorate going increasingly Islamist, he’s apparently on a serious roll.

    So much for my lay analysis and amateur impression of this world-class crisis.

      GatorGuy in reply to GatorGuy. | July 11, 2020 at 6:59 pm

      Content update: The World Council of Churches’ Interim General Secretary today dispatched a letter to Turkey’s President Erdogan

      The head of the Geneva-based World Council of Churches has written to Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressing “grief and dismay” from WCC members at his decision to convert the world famous Hagia Sophia into a mosque.

      Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca, interim WCC general secretary, sent the letter to the Turkish president on 11 July noting that since 1934, “Hagia Sophia has been a place of openness, encounter and inspiration for people from all nations and religions.

      He said it has been a “powerful expression” of Turkey’s “commitment to secularism and inclusion and of its desire to leave behind the conflicts of the past.”

      Hagia Sophia was first built 1,500 years ago as an Orthodox Christian cathedral and was converted into a mosque after the Ottoman conquest in 1453. In 1934, however, it became a museum and is now a UNESCO World Heritage site.

      Sauca wrote, “I am obliged to convey to you the grief and dismay of the World Council of Churches – and of its 350 member churches in more than 110 countries, representing more than half a billion Christians around the world – at the step you have just taken.

      “By deciding to convert the Hagia Sophia back to a mosque you have reversed that positive sign of Turkey’s openness and changed it to a sign of exclusion and division.”

      Sauca said that regrettably, the decision in Turkey was taken without notice or discussion with UNESCO regarding the impact of the decision on Hagia Sophia’s universal value recognized under the World Heritage Convention.

      “Over the years, the World Council of Churches has made great efforts to support the active engagement of its member churches in interreligious dialogue, in order to build bridges of mutual respect…between the different religious communities.

      “Furthermore, in times of challenge, the WCC together with its member churches has spoken out in defense and support of other religious communities, including Muslim communities, for their rights and integrity to be respected,” said Sauca.

      Converting such an “emblematic place” as Hagia Sophia from a museum back to a mosque will “inevitably create uncertainties, suspicions and mistrust, undermining all our efforts to bring people of different faiths together at the table of dialogue and cooperation.”

      The WCC also fears the decision “will encourage the ambitions of other groups elsewhere that seek to overturn the existing status quo and to promote renewed divisions between religious communities”.

      https://www.oikoumene.org/en/press-centre/news/hagia-sophia-decision-by-president-erdogan-evokes-grief-and-dismay-from-world-council-of-churches

        alohahola in reply to GatorGuy. | July 11, 2020 at 7:50 pm

        Good letter.

        GatorGuy in reply to GatorGuy. | July 11, 2020 at 7:58 pm

        WCC Letter to President Erdogan to Keep Hagia Sophia as the Shared Heritage of Humanity

        11 July 2020

        Geneva, 11 July, 2020: In a letter to H.E. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President of the Republic of Turkey, the World Council of Churches interim general secretary Rev. Prof Dr Ioan Sauca is expressing his fervent hope and prayer that Hagia Sophia will not become once again a focus of confrontation and conflict, but will be restored to the emblematic unifying role that it has served since 1934. Read the full letter:

        Dear Mr President,

        Since it began functioning as a museum in 1934, Hagia Sophia has been a place of openness, encounter and inspiration for people from all nations and religions, and a powerful expression of the Republic of Turkey’s commitment to secularism and inclusion and of its desire to leave behind the conflicts of the past.

        Today, however, I am obliged to convey to you the grief and dismay of the World Council of Churches – and of its 350 member churches in more than 110 countries, representing more than half a billion Christians around the world – at the step you have just taken. By deciding to convert the Hagia Sophia back to a mosque you have reversed that positive sign of Turkey’s openness and changed it to a sign of exclusion and division. Regrettably, this decision has also been taken without prior notice or discussion with UNESCO regarding the impact of this decision on Hagia Sophia’s universal value recognized under the World Heritage Convention.

        Over the years, the World Council of Churches has made great efforts to support the active engagement of its member churches in interreligious dialogue, in order to build bridges of mutual respect and cooperation based on values shared between the different religious communities. Furthermore, in times of challenge, the WCC together with its member churches has spoken out in defence and support of other religious communities, including Muslim communities, for their rights and integrity to be respected. The decision to convert such an emblematic place as Hagia Sophia from a museum back to a mosque will inevitably create uncertainties, suspicions and mistrust, undermining all our efforts to bring people of different faiths together at the table of dialogue and cooperation. Moreover, we greatly fear that it will encourage the ambitions of other groups elsewhere that seek to overturn the existing status quo and to promote renewed divisions between religious communities.

        Mr President, you have repeatedly affirmed modern Turkey’s identity as a secular state, but yesterday you overturned a commitment that since 1934 has preserved this historic monument as the shared heritage of humanity. In the interests of promoting mutual understanding, respect, dialogue and cooperation, and avoiding cultivating old animosities and divisions, we urgently appeal to you to reconsider and reverse your decision.

        We join with His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in expressing our fervent hope and prayer that Hagia Sophia will not become once again a focus of confrontation and conflict, but will be restored to the emblematic unifying role that it has served since 1934.

        Yours respectfully,

        Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca

        Interim General Secretary

        __________________________________________________________________

        Apart from one being physical and the other being symbolic, what, I’d like to know, is the essential difference in motive and outcome between this Islamist-inspired event and the current statuary and other institutional destruction taking place in the US today?

        Maybe the WCC would like, sooner, rather than later, to better understand and appreciate that, to coin a useful phrase, aggravated cultural assault, weather physical or symbolic within one country, is the same, demeaning and dangerous attack on the symbols and edifices within any other country.

        It’s tempting to wonder whether our nation’s collective passive tolerance toward the recent civil, urban violence and its wonton and random cultural destruction has allowed Erdogan, in a way, to act out as he did. Autocrats can pick up the scent of another country’s tolerance or indifference to aberrant, uncustomary, and uncivil behavior miles and miles away.

        Ask Hitler, if it were possible, whether he was either discouraged or emboldened by the UK’s and France’s indifference to his remilitarization of the Rhineland in 1936 and the effect such passivity had on his continuous wet dream for a new and decisive war against the old Allied Forces. He’d undoubtedly answer, “Das ist wunderbar! Und I feel even more emboldened than I felt before der incursion!”

        The commonality between such physically destructive attacks, as throughout the US today, or a singular symbolic attack, w/r/t the Hagia Sophia’s official status today in Turkey, should truly have broad, international, ecumenical appeal for all devotees of culture, art and architectural history, and peace between all peoples and nations.

        The cause might make perfect sense to all if the international interest is keen, sincere, and widespread enough. Such an accepted understanding and proactive policy would seem to serve a great deal of true, vitally needed good in this very dicey and precarious time.

        Milhouse in reply to GatorGuy. | July 12, 2020 at 11:47 am

        The World Council of Churches is a leftist activist organization that supports every SJW cause. It’s also antisemitic. So whatever it has to say on any topic is the leftist pravda. Apparently the left doesn’t like this decision. Which doesn’t make it right, of course. Occasionally the left can be against wrong things too, if they hurt it just right.

          GatorGuy in reply to Milhouse. | July 12, 2020 at 8:12 pm

          All true, Mil.

          Relatedly, it’ll be interesting to learn what, if anything, BLM and Antifa, noted elements of the US Left, have to say in response to Erdogan’s decree on the church-mosque-museum-mosque, Holy Wisdom.

          I also wonder, maybe too intensely at times, whether, as Erdogan, expressly pledges, 1) the once-again mosque-structure’s Greek name will endure; and whether, in paraphrasing the Turkish president, 2) people of all faiths, traditions, and cultures will be free to come and go, inside and out the reclaimed mosque, as they please — including the non-Muslim activity of Christian worship!

          Imagine Christians, Orthodox, in fact, worshipping in a mosque — now that would be quite a feat of progress!

          The amazing, upcoming and new sharing with Orthodox Christians
          — will Roman Catholics, an entirely different ball of Christian wax, be allowed entrance? — of Muslim holy space might even put to rest a great deal of all that Islamophobia Erdogan’s so concerned about. Any expression of it would clearly be dissonant w/r/t the newest, undisputed sociological data, the president’s pledge re Hagia Sophia’s intended interfaith freedom predicts, that will likely be found in any sound survey of Istanbul’s Muslim-worship activities vis-a-vis other worshippers’ activities after 24 July, when the mosque officially opens for Muslim worship.

          Who knows? Israeli and other Jews may be worshipping in the al-Aqsa Mosque, atop the Second Temple Mount in Jerusalem, if Erdogan’s wondrous, interfaith prediction takes real and sure hold in Turkey — a principally Muslim, but infringingly Islamist, albeit a constitutionally designated secular republic.

          Actually, that’s probably quite a stretch for now, I reckon. In the meantime, we await a fair and balanced report on 24 July from the 1,500-year-old Muslim mosque in Istanbul, whatever it’s named, by both that date and the Turkish religious authorities.

    Lest we not forget:

    President Donald J. Trump’s Accomplishments List:
    http://www.magapill.com/

    Treason aside: “It’s time to face facts: Obama’s presidency was a failure”:
    https://nypost.com/2017/01/14/its-time-to-face-facts-obamas-presidency-was-a-failure/

    Jason, can you face facts?

      Terence G. Gain in reply to TheFineReport.com. | July 12, 2020 at 7:10 am

      Obama’s plan was to fundamentally transform America and make it less Christian, less capitalist, more socialist and more Islamic. He largely succeeded. Obama was the true disruptor. Trump is the Restorer.

      America’s future hangs in the balance this November. If the Democrats win the presidency and both houses of Congress in November, then the Democrats will proceed with massive immigration and their plans for a one party state.

Oh my goodness, Jason! CNN just reported Obama is on his way to Istanbul to be the first one to worship in the new mosque. As he was boarding the plane he was heard to say, “The Islamic call to worship is the most beautiful sound on Earth. President Trump better be careful not to make any fearsome tweets about this or I will be highly upset.”

Long past time to toss Turkey out of NATO, they don’t trust Russians and President for Life Recep Tayyip Erdogan dings us ever chance he gets, so it isn’t like we still need the U2 bases and radar installations of Turkey. We need to get our nukes the hell out of there and leave the Islamists to hassle Europeans at they are. Erdogan seems a bit reluctant to attack Israel, I even seem to recollect a trade deal struck between the two within the last year, maybe for gas??

    JusticeDelivered in reply to Edward. | July 11, 2020 at 6:24 pm

    Maybe, when the US moves out, there should be some devices left behind, tamperproof, and controllable remotely?

    Muslims kill and otherwise displace other people, making whole countries shit holes. They reproduce at a high rate. They keep doing this. At some point we will need to help them reduce their numbers.

      You’re doing a great job of showing that there might be some basis in fact for the Leftists’ accusation that conservatives are bloodthirsty nutjobs.

    Milhouse in reply to Edward. | July 12, 2020 at 11:48 am

    The time for that was in 2003 when Turkey scr*wed us over the Iraq invasion.

So many examples where Islam can directly slap other faiths in the face, but dare raise an eyebrow and it claims blasphemy. If you can trash Jesus you can trash Mohamed. Or at least stick him in some urine. Who are they, and their enablers, to lecture and scold anyone?

    That situation only exists because enough us tolerated the surrender by enough of the hacks we elected to the swamp/left/islamic axis.

    Look: crazy people get crazy when you mess with their denial. Witness crazy islamists getting crazy when you parodize them. Same with crazy white American women.

    This is how crazy people become your fascist leaders: it requires that you surrender.

    Terence G. Gain in reply to oldschooltwentysix. | July 12, 2020 at 7:19 am

    There is no need to trash Mohammed. Simply telling the truth about Mohamed and Islam’s doctrine and history of conquest will destroy Islam. When Muslims whine and cry racism and Islamophobia, we should respond by demanding that they give back all countries which were Christian, Hindu or Zoroastrian when Islam was invented and began conquering what it could.

daniel_ream | July 11, 2020 at 7:43 pm

Today’s decision […] is an open provocation to the civilized world

Fortunately we have precedent for what happens when Muslims provoke the civilized world by Islamizing holy sites.

Time for Jews/Israel to kick the muslims out of Temple Mount and Bethlehem.

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