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Thousands pray for Istanbul landmark to become mosque
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1.       tunci
7149 posts
 28 May 2012 Mon 11:55 am


Thousands pray for Istanbul landmark to become mosque

Thousands of Muslims gathered to perform noon prayer outside Turkey´s historic Hagia Sophia on Saturday to protest a 1934 law that bars religious services at the former church and mosque. (Photo: AA)
27 May 2012 / REUTERS, ISTANBUL--- Todays Zaman
Thousands of devout Muslims prayed outside Turkey´s historic Hagia Sophia museum on Saturday to protest a 1934 law that bars religious services at the former church and mosque.    

Worshippers shouted, "Break the chains, let Hagia Sophia Mosque open," and "God is great" before kneeling in prayer as tourists looked on.      

Turkey´s secular laws prevent Muslims and Christians from formal worship within the 6th-century monument, the world´s greatest cathedral for almost a millennium before invading Ottomans converted it into a mosque in the 15th century.     

"Keeping Hagia Sophia Mosque closed is an insult to our mostly Muslim population of 75 million. It symbolises our ill-treatment by the West," Salih Turhan, head of the Anatolian Youth Association, which organised the event, told the crowd, whose male and female worshippers prayed separately according to Islamic custom.     

The government has rejected requests from both Christians and Muslims to hold formal prayers at the site, historically and spiritually significant to adherents of both religions.     

The rally´s size and location signals more tolerance for religious expression under Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, whose party traces its roots to a banned Islamist movement.     

His government has also allowed Christian worship at sites that were off-limits for decades, as it seeks to bring human rights in line with the European Union, which it aims to join.     

Turhan told Reuters his group staged the prayers ahead of celebrations next week marking the 559th anniversary of the Ottoman Sultan Mehmet´s conquest of Byzantine Constantinople.     

"As the grandchildren of Mehmet the Conqueror, seeking the re-opening Hagia Sophia as a mosque is our legitimate right," Turhan said in an interview.     

Worshippers refrained from entering the museum, one of Turkey´s most-visited tourist destinations and whose famous dome is considered a triumph of Byzantine architecture.       

Some devout Turks believe that barring worship at Hagia Sophia is an affront against Sultan Mehmet, who designated it as a mosque and who, like other Ottoman leaders, served as caliph to the Islamic world.     

Under Erdoğan, many Turks have come to embrace their imperial Ottoman past and question the more austere, Western-oriented reforms that followed the last sultan´s overthrow in 1923.     

The shift coincides with a stalled EU bid and declining expectations Turkey will ever join the mostly Christian bloc.      

The government´s active diplomatic engagement in the Middle East with lands that once belonged to the Ottoman empire has also prompted Turks to reexamine the NATO member´s Western tilt.     

Meanwhile, some Orthodox argue Hagia Sophia should be returned to its original state as a Christian basilica.      

In 2010, 200 or so Greek American Orthodox aborted plans to pray at Hagia Sophia after the Turkish government threatened to block their entry into the country on security grounds.     

The Ecumenical Patriarchate, spiritual leader of the world´s 250 million Orthodox, does not support efforts to revert its former dominion into a church.     

"We want it to remain a museum in line with the Republic of Turkey´s principles," said Father Dositheos Anagnostopulos, the patriarch´s spokesman.      

"If it were to become a mosque, Christians wouldn´t be able to pray there, and if it became a church it would be chaos."         

Only a few thousand Greek Orthodox faithful are left in Turkey, but the patriarch´s seat remains in Istanbul, a vestige of the Byzantine Empire

Note : In my opinion, Hagia Sophia should remain as a Museum. Since it was built as a church. In every historic monuments has its own spirit and to me Hagia Sophia has a christian spirit in it. I mean you can feel it when you be in there. In my opinion Hagia Sophia is one of the finest example of Christian temples. Therefore , the solution to make both sides [christians and muslims] happy is for it to remaing as it is [ as a museum] I know there is some groups that deman it to reopen as a mosque, but that will not be fair on christian heritage.


Edited (5/28/2012) by tunci

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2.       Efi70
85 posts
 28 May 2012 Mon 12:01 pm

Αs a Greek-Orthodox who comes from Asia Minor i totally agree with you

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3.       Abla
3648 posts
 28 May 2012 Mon 12:26 pm

An example of the huge power that symbols have in people´s minds. A person can pray in any place of the city but he needs to pray exactly in the place which is forbidden for him.


I think it has to do with the will of Fatih:




Maybe they should have listened to him in the first place but as they didn´t raising the issue again in 2012 looks like troublemaking to me.

4.       barba_mama
1629 posts
 28 May 2012 Mon 01:10 pm

5.       barba_mama
1629 posts
 28 May 2012 Mon 01:20 pm




I think the majority of the Turkish people want to keep the museum just the way it is. Just a handfull of frustrated people want to change it... ill-treatment by the west, blah. It´s not the west that decided this should be a museum, and Christianity is also not a "western" religion. They´re clearly some people who don´t know what they´re talking about.

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6.       vineyards
1954 posts
 29 May 2012 Tue 05:00 am

I wish that Hagia Sophia can survive in the first place. If the expected major earthquake hits Istanbul, the old and weary building may not survive it. Imagine for a moment, that this magnificient temple is lost forever. Would Istanbul be the same?

When you enter the building and check out the things people wrote on its pillars hundreds of years ago, you realize that it is the mere moment that belongs to you and not the temple.

One must familiarize himself with the ways of religious thinking, they believe they follow God´s way which leads them to what is good. They think there is nothing better than doing what they are already doing. They are claiming this temple in the name of God. This is exactly the same notion that destroyed all the mosques in Athens. None of the Athenians must be believing they have actually lost anything by not having any mosques left in their city; none of the persons praying for the buildings conversion into a mosque believe they will lose anything either.

These thoughts must have been running in Atatürk´s mind back in 1934 when he decided to turn it into a museum. The decision came at a time when there was mounting pressure on Ankara to turn Hagia Sophia into a church again.

The building is 1500 years old, older than Islam itself. They dedicated it to Jesus; I wonder he would be pleased as a proponent of selflessness and humility. It has served as a temple, saw pillages and has gradually ran down, leave the building alone... It has already done its job in one and a half millenia.


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7.       ikicihan
1127 posts
 29 May 2012 Tue 05:31 am

haghia sophia was repaired by the great architech mimar sinan. the minarets added to four corners. they are not just only minarets but also makes the building stronger for eartquakes and collapsing. historical records tells that the dome of haghia sophia was collapsed more than one time in the history.

8.       ikicihan
1127 posts
 29 May 2012 Tue 05:44 am


Yusuf b. Abdullâh´ın Tevârih-i Âl-i Osman´ında şöyle yazılıdır:

Muhammed Mustafa (s.a.v.) dünyaya geldiğinde Medâyin´de Nuşirevan-ı Âdil´in tâk-i kisrası (köşkünün kubbesi) zelzeleden aşağıya göçtü. Acem vilayetinde ateşperestlerin ateşi söndü. Ayasofya´nın kubbesi çatladı. İmparator o kubbeyi tekrar yaptırdı ve her yaptırışında yıkıldı. Neticede âciz kaldılar ve râhipler ittifak edip imparatora gelerek durumu anlattılar: ´Arap diyârında bir Peygamber zuhur etmiştir,adı Muhammed´dir, onun dünyaya gelmesiyle bu kubbe yıkılmıştır, derman ancak ondan gelir´ dediler.

İmparator Herakliyus hemen itibarlı bir elçiyi hediyelerle Peygamberimiz Hz. Muhammed´e (s.a.v.) gönderdi. Elçi mektupla varıp durumu bildirdi. Muhammed Mustafa (s.a.v.) ağız suyunu alıp güzel bir taşa sürdü ve elçiye verdi: "BU TAŞI KUBBEYE KOYUNUZ" buyurdu. Elçi de taşı Herakliyus´a götürdü. Herakliyus taşı bina ustalarına verdi, onlar da kubbeyi yeni baştan inşa ederken bu taşı kubbeye yerleştirdiler. Kubbe bir daha yıkılmadı.

9.       vineyards
1954 posts
 29 May 2012 Tue 05:12 pm

This is an English language forum ikicihan.

As for the dome and the "mouth water smeared on a stone that renders the dome of Hagia Sophia earthquake proof."; Muhammad was not a wizard, nor did he have supernatural talents. In fact, this point is clearly made in Islam and it is often used as a defensive argument against certain sects of the Christian religion that consider Jesus as the son of God.

Islam orders you to use your mind to testify whether a story is true or not. Whoever quoted this, quoted it in vain because it contradicts with the basic teachings of Islam. By pointing out to "mind" as the measure of "truth", the Quran invalidates any superstitious beliefs.

If an earthquake happens, Hagia Sophia´s dome will collapse and the building can be shattered into pieces if the forces applied to it exceeds it structural limits. Hagia Sophia is not the oldest building in the world. Collesium is much older and pyramids are several times as old as Hagia Sophia. The only reason they stood the test of time is because they were built to last using proper techniques.

Edited (5/29/2012) by vineyards

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10.       barba_mama
1629 posts
 29 May 2012 Tue 08:05 pm


Quoting vineyards

If an earthquake happens, Hagia Sophia´s dome will collapse and the building can be shattered into pieces if the forces applied to it exceeds it structural limits. Hagia Sophia is not the oldest building in the world. Collesium is much older and pyramids are several times as old as Hagia Sophia. The only reason they stood the test of time is because they were built to last using proper techniques.


Actually, the chance that Hagia Sofia will collapse is rather small. When the dome was repeared the last time, they have used a certain special concreet. It is actually always slightly wet. So any cracks that appear slowly repair itself. The cracks that might have appeared from the last earthquake in the region have already repaired itself. Thank you Discovery Channel for this information They had a whole documentary about the dome, the repears Sinan had done, and the chances that the dome would collaps. By the way, the minarets do not make the structure stronger in any way.

Edited (5/29/2012) by barba_mama

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