03/27/2019 Turkey (International Christian Concern) – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on a television interview on Sunday that it is likely that the Hagia Sophie would be converted to a mosque and renamed to Ayasofya Mosque.
Located in modern day Istanbul, the Hagia Sofia was originally built as a sixth century church and would become the center of Orthodox Faith. When the city was conquered by Muslims in 1453, the church was converted into a mosque. However, after the fall of the Ottoman Empire, modern Turkey was founded on secular principles. Consequently, the Hagia Sofia was converted into a museum in 1935.
Since its modern founding, Turkey has increasingly become more Islamic in nature, most significantly through the leadership of President Erdogan. For the first time in 85 years, the Islamic call to prayer was conducted in Hagia Sofia in 2016 and an imam permanently assigned there. Last year, President Erdogan attended Islamic prayers in the Hagia Sofia.
Since then, pressure has continued to build regarding the status of the Hagia Sofia. President Erdogan’s recent comments comes just days after the mosque attacks in New Zealand, where reportedly the gunman left a manifesto expressing his desire to free the Hagia Sophia of Islam.
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