The unique Christian frescoes and mosaics have been and will continue to be covered during Muslim prayer times. Perhaps the new owners are afraid that those who belong to the Quran in particular may crumble to dust when they see Our Lady with baby Jesus.
Because of Covid 19, only a maximum of 1 000 people were allowed into the building. Thousands of Muslims therefore gathered in front of the historic dome. Erdogan spoke of around 350 000 people present and recited verses from the Quran himself, thereby cancelling any remaining doubt about the political motivation behind the re-conversion.
On the occasion of the Islamic prayer in Hagia Sophia, the archbishop of Athens spoke of a “day of mourning for all Christianity” and described the conversion into a mosque as an “unholy act of desecration”.
What is happening in Istanbul today is “not a sign of strength, but evidence of weakness,” said the archbishop.
German MEP Joachim Kuhs, Chairman of “Christians in the AfD” said: “The Christian population of Turkey has shrunk from 2,5 million before the First World War due to murder and displacement to only 120 000 today. He said churches were being desecrated, while “priests and believers were being attacked or even murdered”. Christian churches in Turkey are not allowed to purchase land, open a bank account or train theological students.
“If one compares this blatant disadvantage with how DITIB is courted in Germany with its regime-loyal imams, its tax-financed religious instruction, Islamic associations and mosques, one only realizes what a weird situation has arisen here.
“DITIB should have exactly the same conditions as Christian communities in Turkey. Unfortunately, the party with the C in the name forgot the C, and the churches in Germany are more concerned with defaming the AfD and courting Islam than helping the 260 million persecuted Christians worldwide. When Erdogan turns Hagia Sophia into a victory mosque, it is a slap in the face for Christians worldwide, as the Moscow Metropolit said.”
Erdogan evidently thinks about the re-conversion in exactly the same way, as “a slap in the face of Christians”.