Turkey Converts the Hagia Sophia Into a Mosque

An election banner of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, with the Byzantine-era monument of Hagia Sophia in the background, is pictured in Istanbul, Turkey, March 28, 2019. The slogan on the the banner reads that: “Istanbul is a love story for us”. Picture taken March 28, 2019. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

Turkey faces international backlash today following a court decision to convert the Hagia Sophia into a mosque. The USCIRF issued its condemnation on Friday, while the World Council of Churches called on Turkey’s president to reverse the decision.

Middle East Concern’s Daniel Hoffman says some leaders call it an ‘unnecessary’ move – one that carried a message.

“Muslims were already praying in a section, and the call to prayer was already going out from the Hagia Sophia, so [it was] done as a statement against the Christian communities and the Christian presence in Turkey,” Hoffman explains.

“[Authorities were] saying, ‘You’re not important to us; what we want to do is reestablish Turkey as a strongly conservative Muslim country’ – which makes Christian communities nervous.”

Originally built as a church, the Hagia Sophia became a mosque under the Ottoman Empire. It was converted into a museum in 1935 and stood as an icon of religious freedom for decades.

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SOURCE: Mission Network News, Katey Hearth

CALL TO ACTION

  • Pray for wisdom for Christian leaders to know how to respond to this.
  • Pray attitudes toward Christians will change. Pray people will see believers as valuable members of society.