Thousands of worshipers have been flocking to Hagia Sophia in Istanbul on Friday to attend the first Muslim prayer after 86 years. Some of them even camped outside the Building that was a World Heritage Site over the night and read prayers at the dawn.
“Hagia Sophia is ready for the first Muslim prayer today, after 86 years,” said Istanbul Governor Ali Yerlikaya, while Ali Erbas, head of the Directorate of Religious Affairs announced the appointment of three imams and of five muezzins for the “Hagia Sophia mosque.”
“The Blessed AyaSofya Grand Mosque”
But how can an Islamic mosque have a Christina name? Only the man who wants to be the religious leader of the Muslim world community, the Caliph, of the Ummah, knows…
Erdogan’s political spectacle that exploits religion is scheduled to start at 1 o’ clock and be attended by President Tayyip Erdogan and his whole family. Women in a separate section, of course.
Some 100 people will be allowed inside the Byzantine Basilica and the former museum that turned into a mosque.
The rest of the faithful will attend the prayer from outside.
Media report that thousands have come from other parts of Turkey – most probably on state funds – as well as some people from Malaysia and some other Muslim countries of the Asian East.
What Turkish media emphasize is that “today a historical mistake in being corrected,” with a clear message to the Kemalists and to the founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who turned Hagia Sophia into a museum in 1926.
#Canlı: #AyasofyaCamii, bugün kılınacak cuma namazı ile ibadete açılıyor. Türkiye’nin dört bir tarafından İstanbul’a gelen vatandaşlar, güvenlik noktalarından geçerek Sultanahmet Meydanı’na girmeye başladı https://t.co/QK9bDM2Qlc
— AA Canlı (@AACanli) July 24, 2020
Erdogan’s ambitious plan is multifaceted: push Turkey deeper into a religious state, declare himself a leader of the world’s Muslim community and show to the international western community that he doesn’t give a damn about what they say on his decision to convert a World Heritage into a mosque.
The “mosque” is now under the authority of the Religious Directorate and archaeologists have nothing to say about the conservation of the world monument anymore.