Hagia Sophia in Istanbul
No solidarity from Muslim associations in Germany (Press Release)
The Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) criticizes a decision by the Supreme Administrative Court of the Republic of Turkey according to which the Hagia Sophia is to be converted back into a mosque. "It is disappointing that most of the Muslims in Germany are apparently not willing to show a bit of solidarity with the Christian minorities in Turkey," stated Dr. Kamal Sido, the STP's Middle East Consultant. "What happens next is now in the hands of Islamist President Erdogan."
Dr. Sido had recently contacted all major Islamic communities and mosque associations in Germany, asking them to show support for the oppressed minorities in Turkey. Thereupon, the Syrian-Kurdish Islamic scholar Sheikh Murshid al Khaznawi, who runs a mosque in Norway, and Sayran Ates of the Berlin Ibn Rushd-Goethe Mosque had declared their support. "The Alevi associations are against the Islamization of the Hagia Sophia," Sido stated. "However, the larger Muslim communities in Germany, especially the DITIB, seem to tacitly support the policy of the Turkish government.
The conservative and Islamist political parties in Turkey had repeatedly announced plans to use the Hagia Sophia as a mosque again – and now, the legal basis has been laid. The Hagia Sophia was built in the 6th century. After the conquest of Constantinople by the Ottoman Empire in 1453, it was used as a mosque for 482 years. Since 1935, the iconic building was used as a museum.
Header image: Matthew and Heather via Flickr