1500-year-old church converted into a mosque

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  • In India, Islamic invaders converted thousands of temples into mosques. These needed to be changed into temples after attaining Independence; however, it could not be done due to embracing secularism.
Hagia Sophia Museum

Istanbul (Turkey) – The Turkish Government has taken a controversial decision to turn Istanbul’s iconic Hagia Sophia back to a mosque. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s declaration on 10th July came after a Turkish high court stripped the sixth-century Byzantine site’s museum status, paving the way for it to be converted into a mosque.

The court cancelled 1934’s council of ministers’ decision to turn the establishment into a museum and said Hagia Sophia was registered as a mosque in its property deeds. Hagia Sophia was built as a cathedral in the Christian Byzantine Empire and was converted into a mosque after the Ottoman Empire conquered Constantinople in 1453 and changed the city’s name to Istanbul.

The building, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the historical part of the metropolis, has been an attraction for tourists worldwide and visited by 4 million people every year. Erdogan has many a time openly expressed his support to turn Hagia Sophia back into a mosque. (The Islam which was established in desert areas did not possess any architectural science. Therefore, there is not a single ancient structure in the entire world that claims to have been built in the Islamic style of architecture. The structures which are given name as Islamic structures are either of Hindu architecture or local style. – Editor)

The decision, however, has once again revealed the polarisation between secular and  religious Turks in the country. Many other social media users disagreed with the decision, saying the World Heritage Site should have stayed neutral.