Link to Interesting Article: Church of the Hagia Sophia will be converted into a mosque

12 Apr


Above is the link to an article about a recent legal battle in Turkey that resulted in their courts deciding that the church of the Hagia Sophia, which is a museum at the moment, illegally occupied right now by Turkey’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism that maintains it as a museum and should be converted back to a mosque, since that is what it became when Sultan Mehmed II first turned the church into a mosque after his conquest of the Empire of Trebizond in 1462, the empire in which the church is located. Some worry that this means the actual Hagia Sophia is next.

I’m not sure how I feel about this. On one hand I’m really worried because the Hagia Sophia is an unbelievable architectural wonder, and I (perhaps selfishly) would hate to see all the art in it and the architecture of the building itself be changed to make it into a mosque. On the other hand, in terms of property rights maybe the muslims really do stake a claim to it. This problem is very hard to imagine as if the shoe were on the other foot; that is, as if I found out that my church had been turned into a mosque and contained important historical Islamic art. Would I want that art covered up and turned back into a church? My impulse is to say no, because there are literally millions of churches and we could always go somewhere else. I really do feel that way, and I don’t think that’s just because I’m being self-serving for my side of the argument. I wonder if this sounds culturally insensitive or something, but I don’t understand why they have to have every single mosque. Why can’t they enjoy the building for the art it possesses just like everyone else, and worship somewhere else?

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