Hagia Sofia move factually justified: Malaysian group

Malaysian group, Indonesian scholars hail reopening of Hagia Sophia Mosque...

Istanbul , Jale Akbar, İnteraz - 28 July 2020, 15:08

The move to re-open the Hagia Sophia as mosque is "historically and factually justified," a Malaysian group said Tuesday.

 

In a statement, the Movement for an Informed Society Malaysia or WADAH said it "celebrates the return and opening of Hagia Sophia as a Masjid [mosque]."

 

In an online statement, WADAH President Ahmad Azam Ab Rahman said that even with the opening of the mosque, both Christian and Islamic symbols would continue to be preserved.

 

Rahman pointed out that the Turkish government used curtains and folding screens to cover the Hagia Sophia’s many Christian mosaics, icons, motifs and symbols during Muslim prayers, and that these would not be removed or permanently covered up.

 

On July 24, Friday’s prayers in the Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque marked the first acts of worship there in 86 years.

 

"We commend and laud President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for his leadership, his audacity and courage heralding long awaited inspiration for the Muslim world," said Rahman.

 

Some 350,000 Muslims took part in Friday prayers on July 24 both inside and outside the historical mosque in Istanbul, Turkey's largest metropolis.

 

On July 10, a Turkish court annulled a 1934 Cabinet decree that turned Hagia Sophia into a museum, paving the way for its use as a mosque.

 

Hagia Sophia served as a church for 916 years until the conquest of Istanbul, and a mosque from 1453 to 1934 -- nearly 500 years -- and most recently as a museum for 86 years.

 

In 1985, during its time as a museum, Hagia Sophia was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.

 

Besides being a mosque, Hagia Sophia is also among Turkey’s top tourism destinations and will remain open for domestic and foreign visitors.

 

Anadolu Agency