Saturday, 1 August 2020

On the Muhammadanisation of the Hagia Sophia at Constantinople.


10 Jul. 2020: Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, President of Turkey (2014-), and Prime minister of Turkey (2003-2014), of the Justice and Development party (AKP); following the annulment by the Supreme court, Turkey, of the decree (24 Nov. 1934) of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, President of Turkey (1923-1938), that had declared the Hagia Sophia to be a museum; decreed that the Hagia Sophia is a mosque; and announced that it would be opened as such from 24 Jul. 2020; the call of the Muezzin was issued the same day; and functions as a mosque begun on the opening day.

Speech of R. T. Erdoğan, 10 Jul. 2020: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lihrg8Dlk88

Statement on the occasion of Eid al-Adha {Bakrid}, 30 Jul. 2020: https://www.tccb.gov.tr/en/speeches-statements/558/120744/president-erdogan-s-message-on-eid-al-adha

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A. List of those who WELCOMED.
A1. Mahmoud Abbas, President of Palestine; Chairman (2004-), Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO).
A2. Iran, via its foreign ministry. Ali Akbar Velayati, Former Foreign minister (1981-1997), Iran; senior adviser (1997-) on international affairs to the Supreme leader of Iran, Grand Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, Iran; and Secretary-General, World Assembly of Islamic Awakening.
A3. Vatican-appointed bishops of Turkey. Bp. Paolo Bizzeti, Vicar-Apostolic of Anatolia.
A4. Imran Khan, Prime minister of Pakistan. Arif Alvi, President of Pakistan.
A5. Shavkat Mirziyoyev, President of Uzbekistan.
A6. Shehbaz Sharif, Leader of the Opposition, Pakistan, and President, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).
A7. Robikin Emhas, head of Executive council of Nahdlatul Ulama, Indonesia. Wahid Ridwan, Secretary for International Relations and Cooperation, Muhammadiyah, Indonesia.
A8. the Muslim Brotherhood.
A9. Hamas.
A10. Abdul Hadi Awang, Malaysia's Special envoy to the Middle East, President of the Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS), Former Leader of the Opposition, Malaysia.
A11. the Farthest mosque {Al-Aqsa mosque}, Old City, Jerusalem.
A12. Ahmed Al-Resouni, President, International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS).
A13. Arab Maghreb Union {Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Mauritania, Morocco}.
A14. S. O. Torunlar, Ambassador of Turkey to India.
A15. Panakkad Sadiq Ali Shihab Thangal, Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), President, Malappuram district IUML, India.
A16. Maulana Masood Azhar, Chief, Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM).
A17. All India Muslim personal law board (AIMPLB), India.
A18. Siraj ul-Haq, Ameer {Chief}, Jamaat-e-Islami, Pakistan.
A19. Navaid Hamid, President, All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (AIMMM), India.
A20. Somalia.
A21. Allahshukur Pashazadeh, Chairman, Muslim Religious Council of the Caucasus {Caucasus Muslims board}, and Grand Mufti of Azerbaijan, Georgia, Dagestan, Chechnya, Kabardino-Balkaria, Ingushetia, Karachay-Cherkessia, and Adygea.
A22. Rateb Jneid, President, Australian Federation of Islamic Councils (AFIC), Australia.
A23. Mufti Aleksandras Beganskas, Council of Lithuanian Muslims Religious Communities, Lithuania.
A24. Islamic religious union, N. Macedonia.
A25. Turkish-occupied Cyprus.
A26. Grand Mufti of Oman.
A27. Shaykh Irfaan Abrahams, Head, Muslim Judicial Council (MJC-SA), South Africa. Sheikh Maulana Shabbir Saloojee, Rector, Darul Uloom Zakariyya {Muhammadan University}, Lenasia, South Africa.
A28. Richard B. Spencer, the Alternative Right {alt-right}, USA.
A29. Abdullah Gül, President of Turkey (2007-2014), and Prime minister of Turkey (2002-2003). Ahmet Davutoglu, Prime minister of Turkey (2014-2016). Justice and Development party (AKP).
A30. Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, Leader of the Opposition, Turkey, Chairman, Republican People's Party (CHP) [Founder: Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (1919/1923)], and Former Vice-President, Socialist International. Devlet Bahçeli, President, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). Muharram Ince, CHP.

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B. List of those who OPPOSED STRONGLY.
B1. Archbishop (Eastern Orthodox) of Athens and all Greece, Ieronymos II Liapis.
B2. Patriarch (Eastern Orthodox) of Moscow and all Russia, Kirill II Gundyayev.
B3. Matteo Salvini, Federal Secy., Lega Nord, and Former Deputy PM and Minister of the Interior, Italy; at Milan {Mediolanum}.
B4. Bashar al-Assad, President of Syria.
B5. Arayik Harutyunyan, President of Artsakh.
B6. Armenia, via its foreign ministry.
B7. Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Prime minister of Greece. Lina Mendoni, Minister of Culture, Greece. Nikos Dendias, Foreign minister of Greece. Miltiadis Varvitsiotis, Alternate Foreign minister.
B8. Nicos Anastasiades, President of Cyprus. Nikos Christodoulides, Foreign minister of Cyprus.
B9. Archbishop (Eastern Orthodox) of Tirana and all Albania, Anastasios Yannoulatos.
B10. Eastern Orthodox Church, Uganda.
B11. A. Muhaimin Iskandar, Chairman, National Awakening Party (PKB), Indonesia.
B12. Shawky Allam, Grand Mufti of Egypt.
B13. Noura al-Kaabi, Minister of Culture, United Arab Emirates.
B14. Patriarch (Eastern Orthodox) of Mtskheta-Tbilisi and all Georgia, Ilia II Ghudushauri-Shiolashvili.
B15. Patriarch (Oriental Orthodox) of Etchmiadzin-Vagharshapat and all Armenia, Karekin II Nersessian.
B16. Archbishop (Oriental Orthodox / Armenian) of Antelias and all Cilicia, Aram I Keshishian.
B17. Hadding Scott, National socialist worldview; tr.: Gottfried Feder: `The Manifesto for the abolition of interest slavery', 2012.
B18. Victor Nadein-Raevskiy, the Institute of World economy and International relations (IMEMO), the Russian Academy of Sciences.
B19. Konstantin Kosachev, Chairman, Foreign Affairs committee, Upper chamber of the Russian parliament. Sergei Vershinin, Deputy Foreign minister of Russia.
B20. Alexander Schallenberg, Foreign minister, Vienna, Austria {Österreich/Östmark}.

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A. Those who WELCOMED the MUHAMMADANISATION of the HAGIA SOPHIA.


A1. MAHMOUD ABBAS, President of PALESTINE; Chairman (2004-), PALESTINE LIBERATION ORGANISATION (PLO).

"Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas expressed pleasure about the reversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque and congratulated the Turkish people in a phone call with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Sunday. In his conversation with Erdoğan, Abbas hailed Turkey's decision to revert Constantinople's iconic Hagia Sophia into a mosque, Turkey's Communications Directorate said."
https://www.dailysabah.com/politics/diplomacy/palestines-abbas-welcomes-turkeys-reversion-of-hagia-sophia-into-mosque

"Also thanking Erdoğan and hailing the decision was ABDEL-HADI AL-AGHA, undersecretary of PALESTINE'S RELIGIOUS AFFAIRS MINISTRY."
https://www.aa.com.tr/en/world/muslim-leaders-laud-turkeys-hagia-sophia-move/1914726

"Palestinian Dr. ABDULHADI SAIT AL-AGHA from the PALESTINIAN MINISTRY OF FOUNDATIONS AND RELIGIOUS AFFAIRS also included the following sentences in his letter:
`I would like to congratulate you and the Turkish nation, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan being in the first place, for re-opening of the historical Hagia Sophia mosque for worship. This decision made has eased the longing and pain which had been felt by the Islam ummah since the year 1934. May this decision be a favorable one for the Turkish nation and Islamic world.'"
https://www.diyanet.gov.tr/en-us/Content/PrintDetail/29701

"The ASSOCIATION OF PALESTINIAN SCHOLARS ABROAD expressed their satisfaction for re-opening the Hagia Sophia mosque for worship with the following words:
`We welcomed the decision of re-opening the Hagia Sophia mosque for worship with great happiness and gratitude. With this historical and valuable decision taken, we are being a part of the happiness of the Islamic world and sharing it. The Esteemed President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan being in the first place, we would like to express our congratulations to Turkish nation. We appreciate the state and nation agreement which is present in this decision. This decision has been a rightful one. The sacred place, Hagia Sophia, has gained its value which was well deserved by it. It material and immaterial construction has been carried out again. We regard this decision as a great victory of sovereignty against the western domination which set fire to our nation and people. Moreover, the President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's explanation of `The re-opening of the Hagia Sophia mosque for worship is a sign of the salvation of the al-Masjid al-Aqsa mosque which is in captivity,’ in his historical speech is well-appreciated by us. May the Almighty Allah protect the state of Turkey and the Islamic world from all kinds of evil, mischief, and catastrophe.'"
https://www.diyanet.gov.tr/en-us/Content/PrintDetail/29701
https://www.dailysabah.com/politics/muslim-leaders-praise-ankaras-decision-on-hagia-sophia-mosque/news

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A2. IRAN, via its foreign ministry. ALI AKBAR VELAYATI, Former Foreign minister (1981-1997), IRAN; Senior adviser (1997-) on International affairs to the Supreme leader of Iran, GRAND AYATOLLAH SEYYED ALI KHAMENEI, IRAN; and Secretary-General, WORLD ASSEMBLY OF ISLAMIC AWAKENING.

"Iran’s Foreign Ministry welcomed on Monday a recent decision by Turkey to reconvert Constantinople's iconic Hagia Sophia into a mosque after serving decades as a museum.
`The decision on the status of Hagia Sophia is Turkey's internal affair', ministry spokesman Sayed Abbas Mousavi told Anadolu Agency.
`This is an issue that should be considered as part of Turkey's national sovereignty', Mousevi added."
https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/-iran-praises-turkey-s-reopening-of-hagia-sophia-mosque/1909036

"The Senior adviser for International Affairs to the Leader of the Islamic Revolution said westerners criticise the reconversion of Turkey’s Hagia Sophia to a mosque, while their ancestors had turned all world museums to churches.
Speaking in a program in Iranian state television on Saturday night, Ali Akbar Velayati reacted to the recent comments by U. S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who urged Ankara that Hagia Sophia should be turned into a museum again. (https://www.state.gov/the-status-of-the-hagia-sophia/ https://www.aa.com.tr/en/politics/turkey-slams-pompeo-over-hagia-sophia-remarks/1896687)
Velayati said, `Does Pompeo have another order?! [sic: other orders?] Their ancestors turned all the museums in the world into churches and built everything they could after battle of Andalusia'.
`The Hagia Sophia, which has been a mosque for 500 years, will remain a mosque until the Apocalypse/day of judgment, and the Turkish people are indebted to their President because of Erdoğan's move', he stressed.
`I travelled to Turkey for a while, prayed in one of the mosques of this country and saw that, despite all the propaganda by the laics, the mosques were filled during prayers and even people lined up in the streets.'
`The Turkish people adhere to the true Islam and respect the Shia scholars', Velayati added, praising the Turkish people.
He further said, `Hagia Sophia is one of the most important mosques in Turkey and its history dates back to 857 AH (i. e., 1453) when it was conquered by Mehmed II'.
Velayati said, `After Erdoğan's move, the whole Christian world erupted, criticising the conversion of the Hagia Sophia Museum into a mosque and said that if this is the case, all museums should be turned into mosques and churches before 1942'.
`In an article published a few days ago, it was also said that Mehmed II bought this place from a priest and turned it into a mosque', he said.
`This is while', he stressed, `many of the architectures inside the mosque show that it is Islamic rather than Christian'.
Velayati said, `The first violent treatment of Muslims by Europeans took place during the Crusades'.
`Once Erdoğan gave a famous speech in Turkey on the occasion of Ashura at a ceremony in Constantinople in Dec. 2010 and recited a famous hadith from Imam Hassan and Hussein [grandsons of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)]; This shows the interest of the Turkish people in Islam as well as the Shia', said Velayati, who was in Constantinople at the time at the invitation of the leader of Turkey’s Shia Muslims, Salah al-Din Ozgunduz, attending the ceremony which saw a huge crowd brave freezing temperatures to commemorate Ashura, the day Imam Hussein (AS) and his 72 companions were martyred in the battle of Karbala in 61 AH (i. e., 680).
He added, `Until 1914, Turkey was the center of the Sunnis in the Islamic world, and after that, the conspiracy of the British and the French tried to dismantle this important country.
However, the Shias refused to turn away from Islam in Turkey.
As the secretary of the World Assembly of Islamic Awakening, I recently issued a statement in this regard, a copy of which-– in the Turkish language-– was presented to Erdoğan. In this statement, we emphasised that the move by the President of Turkey in turning the Hagia Sophia Museum into a mosque is very important work and is in line with the will of the people of this country', Velayati said.
`The Turkish people sought such an action, and we congratulate the Turkish nation on this important Islamic achievement', he concluded." 1 Aug. 2020.
https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2020/8/3/630971/www.presstv.ir
https://en.mehrnews.com/news/161744/Christians-ancestors-converted-all-museums-to-churches
https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/top-iranian-aide-praises-turkeys-hagia-sophia-move/1929504

"In a statement on Sunday, the secretariat of the assembly deplored the destruction of Muslim sites and Islamic civilisation’s heritage during the Crusades and noted that Muslims, however, did not turn the heritage of the Western world’s civilisation into ruin after conquering them but saved them as places of Islamic worship, thus contributing to cultural interaction and continuation of human civilisation.
It further referred to the recent move by Turkey to reconvert Hagia Sophia into a mosque and said it was a courageous and praiseworthy step in seeking to revive the Islamic identity and return the Islamic heritage to the Muslim world.
The assembly also called on all Muslims in the world to support and acclaim the `smart' decision by the Turkish government."
https://iqna.ir/en/news/3472090/islamic-awakening-assembly-hails-reopening-hagia-sophia-as-mosque

Statement of the WORLD ASSEMBLY OF ISLAMIC AWAKENING:
`The Crusades coincided with a period in history that made many thinkers such as French Gustave Le Bon confess that East is the Cradle of Civilisation and coincided with the heyday of Islamic civilisation, the Crusades were detrimental to Muslims throughout the world due to Crusaders’s lack of culture and lack of enjoyment of manifestation of civilisation.
At the same time, the fertility of the tree of culture and civilisation among the Islamic nations caused Europeans to return home with a handful of knowledge and progress but, perhaps, the most important consequence of the Crusades was the domination of their soft power over Islamic societies. Their crimes in capturing Al-Aqsa mosque, destroying mosques, and burning relics of Islamic civilisation and looting the wealth of Muslim nations, as well as the massacre of tens of thousands of Muslims in a long history of about one hundred and eighty years and in eight periods of invasion of Islamic lands have been a part of this historical disgrace inflicted by the Crusaders.
Despite these crimes and destruction of the vast infrastructure of the Islamic world by the West in the Crusades, Islam not only did not destroy the relics of Western civilisation in these wars but also preserved cultural activity by preserving churches and turning them into Islamic places of worship. In general, Islam contributed to cultural interaction and the continuation of human civilisation greatly.
The 1,500-year-old Church of Hagia Sophia is a remnant of the Byzantine Empire and one of the architectural symbols of the Eastern Roman period. After the early developments of the Renaissance and the conquest of Constantinople by Sultan Muhammad the Conqueror in 1452, the Hagia Sophia church was turned into a mosque and place of worship for Muslims while respecting the rights of all Christians in the world and people of the Roman Empire, among whom Islam had gradually been spread.
For five centuries, the Hagia Sophia was one of the most important cultural heritage sites in the Islamic world but British colonialism, which had been inflicted a severe blow by Muslims in these five centuries, turned the place of worship of Muslims into a museum.
According to the divine laws and traditions, the enemies sought to extinguish the divine light which returned to the Muslims with the growth of Islamism and Islamic awakening in the second and third waves and raising awareness and insight.
In the blessed days of the first decade of Dhu al-Jijjah, when pilgrims seek to revive their nature, the Turkish government and especially President of this country Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, in a courageous and praiseworthy act made up his mind to revive Islamic identity and restore the Islamic heritage to the Islamic World.
While supporting the intelligent action which is a sign of wisdom and confronting the cultural domination of the West, the World Assembly of Islamic Awakening respects the revival of the Muslim entity, preservation of dignity, and cultural heritage and cordially requests all Muslims around the world to support and back this wise move taken wholeheartedly.' 26 Jul. 2020.
https://en.mehrnews.com/news/161466/WAIA-issues-statement-on-reopening-Hagia-Sophia-Mosque

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A3. Vatican-appointed bishops of TURKEY. BP. PAOLO BIZZETI, Vicar-Apostolic of ANATOLIA.

"Catholic bishops in Turkey pledged not to contest plans to turn Constantinople’s ancient Hagia Sophia cathedral that now serves as a museum into a Muslim place of worship.
In announcing their decision 18 Jun., the bishops backed government claims that the monument’s future is a question of national sovereignty.
`We are a church deprived of juridical status, so we cannot give any advice on this country’s internal questions', the Turkish bishops’s conference said in a statement sent to Catholic News Service."
https://cruxnow.com/church-in-the-middle-east/2020/06/turkish-bishops-wont-contest-plan-to-turn-ancient-cathedral-into-a-mosque/

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A4. IMRAN KHAN, Prime minister of PAKISTAN. ARIF ALVI, President of PAKISTAN.

"Pakistani Prime minister Imran Khan on late Friday hailed the reopening of Turkey's historic Hagia Sophia Grand mosque after 86 years, following a Turkish court ruling.
`Felicitations to the Republic of Turkey, and H. E. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on this historic day after the first prayers in 86 years were held at Hagia Sophia [Grand] mosque', Khan said on Twitter.
Apart from the prime minister, several other Pakistani politicians and lawmakers, including the head of mainstream religious party JAMAAT-E-ISLAMI Senator SIRAJ UL-HAQ, and the CHIEF MINISTER of the most populous PUNJAB PROVINCE, USMAN BUZDAR also congratulated the Turkish government over the landmark move."
https://www.aa.com.tr/en/asia-pacific/pakistani-premier-hails-reopening-of-hagia-sophia/1922014

"The Pakistani leadership and Erdoğan held telephonic conversation and exchanged warm greetings on the auspicious occasion of Eid al-Adha {Bakrid}.
While congratulating Erdoğan on the reopening of Constantinople's Hagia Sophia as a mosque after nearly nine decades, President Alvi `reiterated Pakistan’s steadfast support to Turkey on its legitimate interests and assured that Pakistan will continue its policy to provide Turkey with all possible support'.
Prime Minister Imran too felicitated President Erdoğan on reopening of the Hagia Sophia for prayers and told him that `millions of Pakistanis watched it live on television', according to a tweet by the Prime Minister's Office."
https://www.dawn.com/news/1572341/erdogan-assures-support-for-pakistan-on-kashmir-issue-in-calls-to-president-alvi-pm-imran

"A local legislator in Pakistan welcomed on Saturday a recent decision by Turkey to reconvert Istanbul's iconic Hagia Sophia into a mosque after serving decades as a museum.
`We hail President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for his courageous decision on the status of Hagia Sophia Mosque. It is not only in accordance with the wishes of the people of Turkey but the entire Muslim world', said CHAUDHRY PERVAIZ ELAHI, the SPEAKER of the STATE ASSEMBLY of Pakistan's largest PUNJAB PROVINCE.
Elahi, a member of the PAKISTAN MUSLIM LEAGUE-Quaid-i-Azam (PML-Q) which is a coalition partner of Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, underlined in a statement that the Hagia Sophia Mosque is a part of the common cultural legacy of the entire Muslim world, according to local broadcaster Ary News."
https://www.aa.com.tr/en/asia-pacific/pakistani-lawmaker-hails-turkeys-hagia-sophia-move/1907420

"Major media outlets in Pakistan and BANGLADESH have unequivocally conveyed the significance of the reopening of Turkey’s iconic Hagia Sophia mosque for worship for the first time in 86 years with Friday prayers, dubbing it as a `landmark moment'.
Over a dozen top TV channels, including state-run PAKISTAN TELEVISION, cut their routine bulletins, and aired wall-to-wall coverage of the grand event.
They ensured live transmission from different corners of the mosque, highlighting its historical past, and importance for the Muslims around the world."
https://www.aa.com.tr/en/asia-pacific/pakistan-bangladesh-broadcast-prayers-at-hagia-sophia/1921469

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A5. SHAVKAT MIRZIYOYEV, President of UZBEKISTAN.

"In a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Uzbekistan's leader on Friday welcomed the historic reopening of the Hagia Sophia mosque in Constantinople, Turkey.
President Shavkat Mirziyoyev expressed his pleasure at the reopening Friday of the Hagia Sophia mosque in Constantinople, said a statement by Turkey's Communications Directorate."
https://www.yenisafak.com/en/news/uzbek-president-hails-reopening-of-hagia-sophia-mosque-3535322

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A6. SHEHBAZ SHARIF, Leader of the Opposition, PAKISTAN, and President, PAKISTAN MUSLIM LEAGUE-Nawaz (PML-N).

"Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif has defended the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, for his government’s controversial decision to convert Hagia Sophia into a mosque.
`Every country has its own laws and system of judiciary. Turkey is well within its rights to implement the court judgment to convert Hagia Sophia into a mosque. In the Muslim world, Turkey is a great example of religious tolerance and champion of interfaith harmony & dialogue', the National Assembly opposition leader tweeted in Erdoğan’s support."
https://nayadaur.tv/2020/07/shehbaz-defends-turkey-over-conversion-of-hagia-sophia-into-mosque/
https://twitter.com/CMShehbaz/status/1282719592457150469

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A7. ROBIKIN EMHAS, Head of Executive council OF NAHDLATUL ULAMA, INDONESIA. WAHID RIDWAN, Secretary for International Relations and Cooperation, MUHAMMADIYAH, INDONESIA.

"Political parties and religious groups in two largest Muslim nations, Pakistan and Indonesia, appreciated Turkey’s decision to turn Hagia Sophia back into a mosque.
`Legal decisions through open and impartial litigation must be respected', said ROBIKIN EMHAS, head of EXECUTIVE COUNCIL OF NAHDLATUL ULAMA, Indonesia’s largest Muslim organisation, told Anadolu Agency.
Responding to diverse reactions from the international community, Emhas said every decision of a judicial institution in any country would not satisfy all parties, but `this move must be respected'.
MUHAMMADIYAH, the country's oldest Muslim organisation, also welcomed Turkey’s decision on Hagia Sophia.
WAHID RIDWAN, the body’s SECRETARY FOR INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION, said the reopening of Hagia Shopia as a mosque is the full right of Turkish government and people.
`The change in status was carried out in a legal and bureaucratic process as a democratic country, so it does not need to be contested internationally since it had gone through a very accountable process', he told Anadolu Agency.
Ridwan said this step portrayed tolerance and development of world civilisation in the harmony of religions.
`The pressure will not change the stance of government and people of Turkey. The West must understand that their view of Islam is very narrow', he said.
He added that criticism over the decision is unnecessary as Turkey will open the complex to visitors of all religions.
Meanwhile, SURAHMAN HIDAYAT, a member of parliament from the PROSPEROUS JUSTICE PARTY, said the decision was Turkey’s sovereign rights and it needs to be respected.
`Everyone must respect the Turkish legal system and authority, its internal sovereignty and long history of the nation', he told Anadolu Agency.
He highlighted that the historical building was presented to the community as a mosque by Fatih Sultan Mehmed II.
He added that changing the status of Hagia Sophia to a mosque means it will be open every day for visitors and everyone can enter the complex.
AHMAD BAIDOWI, a deputy from the UNITED DEVELOPMENT PARTY, said the return of Hagia Sophia as a mosque is Turkey’s sovereignty.
`Turkey has its own authority as a country', Baidowi told Anadolu Agency.
He said that Indonesia, as a country that adheres to free and active foreign policy, fully respects Turkey's decision.
`It was ruled by the court and it was changed from a museum, not from other religion’s house of worship, so it is not a big problem', he added."
https://www.aa.com.tr/en/asia-pacific/pakistani-indonesian-muslim-groups-hail-turkeys-hagia-sophia-move/1910920

"A Muslim clerical body in Indonesia's northernmost province of Aceh also hailed the opening of the Hagia Sophia mosque.
TENGKU BULQAINI TANJUNGAN, the vice-chairman of ULEMA CONSULTATIVE ASSEMBLY, on Monday said Turkey, under the leadership of President Erdoğan, has shown its concern for the Islamic world, helping the weak in various parts of the world.
`Then, there is no reason not to support him on the Hagia Sophia move', he told Anadolu Agency.
Highlighting that the Constantinople landmark had been a mosque for centuries before being turned into a museum, Tanjungan said his group welcomed Turkey's decision.
Tanjungan said the decision could be seen as an effort to boost Muslims' international prestige.
`Muslims in Turkey were able to get rid of foreign intervention that has been shackling the determination of Muslims to rise.'
TEUKU ZULKHAIRI, an academic at the STATE ISLAMIC UNIVERSITY OF AR-RANIRY, said Turkey was now slowly recovering from a long downturn.
`Now, Turkey is an important country and cannot be ordered by other states, especially in the case of the Hagia Sophia', Zulkhairi told Anadolu Agency.
He said the rage displayed by Greece against Turkey over the decision showcased a very intolerant way of thinking in the West.
`Greece and other Western countries have questioned Turkey for turning the Hagia Sophia back into a mosque, but at the same time, they had turned hundreds of Ottoman heritage mosques into churches', he added."
https://www.aa.com.tr/en/asia-pacific/hagia-sofia-move-factually-justified-malaysian-group/1924907

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A8. MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD.

"The Muslim Brotherhood group described the Turkish decision on Hagia Sophia as a `historic step'.
This step `confirms the sovereignty of the Turkish people over their land and the exercise of their rights', spokesman Talaat Fahmy said in a statement.
He said the Turkish court decision to reconvert Hagia Sophia to a mosque `restores the right to its owners'."
https://www.aa.com.tr/en/culture/arabs-hail-turkey-s-reopening-of-hagia-sophia-mosque/1908596

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A9. HAMAS.

"Palestinian resistance group Hamas has welcomed the Turkish court verdict directing the opening of Hagia Sophia as a mosque. 
`Opening of Hagia Sophia to prayer is a proud moment for all Muslims', said Rafat Murra, head of international press office of Hamas, in a written statement.
Murra stressed that the decision created `sadness' in certain groups in the Arab world.
`We have never seen them worry about Masjid al-Aqsa. We have not seen them get sad when the Zionists attack Dome of the Rock. When the occupiers banned call to prayer in Al-Halil Masjid or Palestinian masjid. They did not care', he said.
Murra said that the decision falls under Turkey's sovereignty rights.
This move shows Turkey's self-confidence, and its place in the international arena, he added."
https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/hamas-movement-supports-hagia-sophia-decision/1906747

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A10. ABDUL HADI AWANG, Special envoy of MALAYSIA to the MIDDLE EAST, President, MALAYSIAN ISLAMIC PARTY (PAS), Former Leader of the Opposition, MALAYSIA.

"Western countries plagued by Islamophobia have no right to protest Turkey's decision to revert Hagia Sophia to its historic status as a mosque, a leading Malaysian politician said Sunday.
`These countries remained silent while Israel was planning to demolish the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem. Now they are protesting Hagia Sophia functioning as a mosque', said Abdul Hadi Awang, Malaysia's special envoy to the Middle East, President of the Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS), Former Leader of the Opposition of Malaysia, and Vice-President of the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS).
Palestinians have long said Israeli excavation work around the flashpoint site points to their plans to demolish the mosque and rebuild the Third Temple there.
In a written statement, Hadi said Hagia Sophia served as the city's main mosque for nearly 500 years after the conquest of Constantinople.
Abdul Hadi said that other distinguished Constantinople mosques such as the Blue mosque, Şehzade, Süleymaniye, and Rüstem Paşa mosques were also inspired by Hagia Sophia."
https://www.dailysabah.com/politics/islamophobic-countries-cant-protest-turkeys-hagia-sophia-decision-malaysian-envoy-says/news

"A Malaysian Muslim organisation on Thursday threw its weight behind Turkey's initiative to reopen the historical Hagia Sofia as a mosque in Constantinople.
`The Hagia Sophia is a mosque and it should be respected as a mosque', MOHAMMAD AZMI ABDUL HAMID, the head of Malaysia's CONSULTATIVE COUNCIL FOR ISLAMIC ORGANISATION Thursday said on Twitter.
Commenting on recent discussions in Turkey and abroad about the possible reopening of the sixth-century landmark to Muslim worship, Hamid underlined: `The EU, Italy and US should keep their hands off the issue as it is the right of Muslims in Turkey to reclaim it as a functional house of Allah. Muslims' rights have constantly been denied', he added."
https://www.aa.com.tr/en/asia-pacific/malaysian-organization-backs-turkeys-hagia-sofia-move/1897340

"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.
`We commend and laud President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for his leadership, his audacity and courage heralding long awaited inspiration for the Muslim world', said Rahman."
https://www.aa.com.tr/en/asia-pacific/hagia-sofia-move-factually-justified-malaysian-group/1924907

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A11. THE FARTHEST MOSQUE {AL-AQSA MOSQUE}, OLD CITY, JERUSALEM.

"`We congratulate Turkey and ourselves for converting Hagia Sophia back to a mosque because it belongs to all Muslims', EKREMA SABRI, the preacher of Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque, said in a statement."
https://www.aa.com.tr/en/culture/arabs-hail-turkey-s-reopening-of-hagia-sophia-mosque/1908596

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A12. AHMED AL-RESOUNI, President, INTERNATIONAL UNION OF MUSLIM SCHOLARS (IUMS).

"Is it a grief for Hagia Sophia, or is it an expression of Islamophobia ?!

-- A. Dr.. Ahmed Al-Resouni

Since it was decided to return the Great mosque, or the Holy mosque, (also known as Hagia Sophia), in the Turkish city of Constantinople, to its origin and its former era before 1932, a wave of anger, protest, and outrage, which some Christian churches and some Western countries followed, followed them as usual. Some hypocrites of the Arabs .. It is surprising that they are joined by UNESCO, which is supposed to be neutral in religious and political issues.

The step taken by the Turkish judiciary and the Turkish president is not to convert a church into a mosque, as some say, nor is it to convert a church into a museum, nor is it to close a church, but rather is to transform a damaged mosque into a functioning mosque. What does it harm the Christians and their churches in that? What does it hurt for them to convert the Hagia Sophia building from a tourist facility to a place where God is worshiped and God is mentioned? Do the heads of the Christian religion prefer to remain the Hagia Sophia for tourism and watching, rather than opening it to the worship of God Almighty and recitation of the Qur’an ?!

Qur’an said the role of different worship, praised its mission and the right to defend it, as long as they worshiped them and reminds them of God, the Almighty said:
 تعالى، قال عز وجل: {وَلَوْلَا دَفْعُ اللَّهِ النَّاسَ بَعْضَهُمْ بِبَعْضٍ لَهُدِّمَتْ صَوَامِعُ وَبِيَعٌ وَصَلَوَاتٌ وَمَسَاجِدُ يُذْكَرُ فِيهَا اسْمُ اللَّهِ كَثِيرًا وَلَيَنْصُرَنَّ اللَّهُ مَنْ يَنْصُرُهُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَقَوِيٌّ عَزِيزٌ} [الحج: 40].
Hajj: 40].
It was first for Christians to express their satisfaction that the building would return to its religious nature and original function; It is worship, education, ..

As for the conversion of (Hagia Sophia) from a church to a mosque, this is an event that has passed for more than five and a half centuries, and it is assumed that the anger today is directed to contemporary Turkey, and to President Erdoğan, and not to the Ottoman Empire and Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror. What happened today is nothing more than reopening the mosque and returning it to its job. This does not call for anger or objection from anyone, especially as it is a purely internal Turkish issue. So why this guardianship, and this aggressive control mentality ?!
But if we want to return to the issue of converting the church into a mosque, this will lead us to historical reviews and trials that have no first or last .. We must then open the files of Andalusian mosques, Sicilian mosques, mosques in Russia, and Yugoslavian mosques.

Without going far, France has closed in fifty years only about fifty mosques ... and this without directing our attention to India, China and Burma.

We ask protesters angry at the reopening of the Hagia Sophia mosque: What if Turkey had turned the Hagia Sophia from a museum into a theater, a "global" cinema, an opera house, or a bullfighting field ... Would you be angry? Or will you keep quiet? Or will you clap ?!

As for those who cry over the "human heritage" from which "humanity will be deprived", they are told - and they know this - that the building will remain as it is, or it will become better than it is. As for the artistic, archaeological and historical exhibits in it, they will return to their appropriate and appropriate places. As for the architectural heritage, most of it was built in the name of the mosque and thanks to the mosque, and what was built for the church, it is in the place of complete maintenance.

Enough of misleading and dressing up, and say openly: We are against Islam, against prayer, and against the Qur’an .."

https://iumsonline.org/en/ContentDetails.aspx?ID=11983

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A13. ARAB MAGHREB UNION {LIBYA, TUNISIA, ALGERIA, MAURITANIA, MOROCCO}.

"The Arab Maghreb Union described the reopening of the Hagia Sophia mosque to worshippers as a `great historic event'.
`We extend our heartfelt congratulations to the Islamic nation as a whole and particularly to the Turkish people, led by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, on the occasion of the reopening of the Hagia Sophia mosque to prayer', the union said in a statement."
https://www.aa.com.tr/en/culture/arabs-hail-turkey-s-reopening-of-hagia-sophia-mosque/1908596

"In their letter, members of the ASSOCIATION OF MOROCCAN SCHOLARS congratulated the President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who made the decision for the Hagia Sophia, firstly and then all courts, Turkish nation, and Islamic world for the decision of re-opening the Hagia Sophia mosque for worship and used the following expressions: `We believe that the decision announced on Friday is a great and historical one and we share the happiness of the Islam ummah.'"
https://www.diyanet.gov.tr/en-us/Content/PrintDetail/29701
https://www.dailysabah.com/politics/muslim-leaders-praise-ankaras-decision-on-hagia-sophia-mosque/news

"Mauritanian people on Saturday rejoiced at the news that historic Hagia Sophia will open as a mosque.
In the capital Nouakchott, prayers were offered as the news came that Hagia Sophia will be open for prayers.
A group in Nouakchott said they sacrificed a camel to celebrate the Turkish court verdict.
They said that Hagia Sophia is of great significance to the entire Muslim world.
Mauritanians said the decision will open a new page in the Islamic history, leading to the unity of the Muslims.
They thanked the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan."
https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/mauritania-rejoices-opening-of-hagia-sophia-as-mosque/1906729

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A14. S. O. Torunlar, Ambassador of TURKEY to INDIA.

"Drawing a comparison with Indian Supreme Court’s verdict on the Babri Masjid, Turkish Ambassador to India Sakir Ozkan Torunlar has said President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s decision to turn the iconic Hagia Sophia museum in Constantinople into a mosque is `not a major setback' to Turkey’s secular values.
Turkey’s highest administrative court made a ruling in the case of Hagia Sophia `unanimously', said Torunlar, adding that this is `not much different' from the SC verdict in 2019 on the `Babri Masjid/Ayodhya Temple case'."
https://theprint.in/diplomacy/like-babri-case-turning-hagia-sophia-into-mosque-no-setback-to-secular-values-turkish-envoy/462897/

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A15. PANAKKAD Sadiq Ali Shihab THANGAL, INDIAN UNION MUSLIM LEAGUE (IUML), President, MALAPPURAM district IUML, INDIA.

"In an article in party daily Chandrika, senior IUML leader Panakkad Sadiq Ali Shihab Thangal said that the US has protested the decision but it is noteworthy that Russia, where 25 per cent of Orthodox Christians live, has not interfered. `Many European countries, which have opposed Turkey’s decision on Hagia Sophia, have not allowed Muslims the right to offer namaz… when all contemporary Christian religious and political leaders disagree with the conversion… they do not make any stake over its ownership realising that historically there is no ground for such a demand', he wrote.

Sadiq Ali, part of the IUML’s high power committee, is also a prominent member of the Malappuram-based Panakkad family, which has a considerable stake in north Kerala politics. `Turkey president Tayyip Erdoğan, who is raising his voice in the international community for the systematically-oppressed Muslims across the world, has been attacked under the guise of pseudo-secularism', he wrote."
https://indianexpress.com/article/india/cpm-questions-congress-stand-as-iuml-leader-hails-turkey-move-6528284/

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A16. MAULANA MASOOD AZHAR, Chief, JAISH-E-MOHAMMED (JeM).

"Banned Pakistani terror group Jaish-e-Mohammad’s Chief Maulana Masood Azhar has in a statement welcomed conversion of Hagia Sophia musuum into a mosque in Turkey and expressed hope that Ram Mandir in Ayodhya would also become a mosque at some point in time.
The way Azhar has forcefully mentioned Hagia Sophia, Babri Masjid and Lal Masjid in his speeches and internal communication indicates the terror group, under the patronage of the ISI, has hatched a grand conspiracy to execute some major nefarious designs."
https://www.dailypioneer.com/2020/india/ram-mandir-would-meet----hagia-sophia----fate--terrorist-azhar.html

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A17. ALL INDIA MUSLIM PERSONAL LAW BOARD (AIMPLB), INDIA.

"Ahead of the foundation stone laying ceremony for Ram temple in Ayodhya, the All India Muslim personal Law Board (AIMPLB) questioned the Supreme Court judgement in Ayodhya.
`#BabriMasjid was and will always be a Masjid. #HagiaSophia is a great example for us. Usurpation of the land by an unjust, oppressive, shameful and majority appeasing judgment can’t change it’s [sic] status. No need to be heartbroken. Situations don’t last forever', the AIMPLB tweet said." 4 Aug. 2020.
https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/hours-before-ayodhya-event-aimplb-statement-rests-hope-on-hagia-sophia-moment/story-geF754ICqa9P2My5YZOVIM.html
https://www.aa.com.tr/en/asia-pacific/india-work-begins-on-controversial-new-hindu-temple/1932564

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A18. SIRAJ UL-HAQ, Ameer {Chief} of JAMAAT-E-ISLAMI, PAKISTAN.

`In a letter addressed to the Turkey's president, chief of Pakistan's Jamaat-e-Islami party Siraj ul Haq said the news of opening Hagia Sophia for Muslim prayers after 86 years "warmed hearts of Muslims all around the world and particularly in Pakistan.'
`Accept our heartiest greetings over the major decision which has reversed the injustice committed decades back', Haq said in his letter to Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
`The Hagia Sophia is amanat [depositation] of Fatih Sultan Mehmet and who better than President Erdoğan can take care of such a huge responsibility', Haq added.
Recalling the Indian top court's verdict last year on the historical Babri mosque, Haq said that at a time when Muslim-majority Turkey is taking the lead in preserving heritage of Muslims and non-Muslims alike, in India, a neighbour of Pakistan, `the Hindu nationalist government has once again attacked centuries-old Babri Masjid and demolished it to construct a Hindu temple.'
Babri Masjid was constructed by Zahir-uddin Babur, an ethnic Turk and his Mughal empire ruled over South Asia for nearly 300 years.
`Likewise, Hindu fascists are eyeing thousands of other mosques in India which are under threat. They have already begun demographic change in Indian-occupied Kashmir which is a Muslim-majority region', he added."
https://www.aa.com.tr/en/asia-pacific/pakistani-indonesian-muslim-groups-hail-turkeys-hagia-sophia-move/1910920

"Siraj said those who were crying foul on the step should instead take up the issue with Israel for its occupation of mosques and Islamic buildings.
He said Turkey government corrected the history and restored the building status into its original form. He said no one was banned to go to Hagia Sophia mosque now as its historical status as building would remain intact."
https://nation.com.pk/16-Jul-2020/siraj-praises-erdogan-on-re-conversion-of-hagia-sophia-into-mosque

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A19. NAVAID HAMID, President, ALL INDIA MUSLIM MAJLIS-E-MUSHAWARAT (AIMMM), INDIA.

"Navaid Hamid of All India Muslim Majlis Mushawarat (AIMMM) has responded to the critics of the Hagia Sophia’s restoration into a mosque by citing the examples of conversions of hundreds of mosques into Europe, particularly Spain and Greece into churches, cathedrals, museums, theatres and stores. One of the biggest examples is that of the Córdoba mosque converted into a church in Spain. He gives examples of several mosques in Greece to have been demolished and converted into theatres and malls etc."
http://www.indiatomorrow.net/eng/it-is-legally-correct-to-convert-hagia-sophia-into-a-mosque-but-sharing-it-with-christians-will-unite-world-communities-turkish-university-professor-dr-omair-anas

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A20. SOMALIA.

"Somalia congratulated Turkey on Saturday on the reopening Hagia Sophia as a mosque after 86 years.
`Somalia MINISTRY OF ENDOWMENTS & RELIGIOUS AFFAIRS congratulates the whole Muslim world, and specifically the Turkish public, our brothers; for taking the decision to revert Hagia Sophia to its origins as a mosque', it said on Twitter.
The reopening of Hagia Sophia was celebrated with various events in the capital of Mogadishu."
https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/somalia-congratulates-turkey-on-reverting-hagia-sophia/1922576

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A21. ALLAHSHUKUR PASHAZADEH, Chairman, MUSLIM RELIGIOUS COUNCIL OF THE CAUCASUS {CAUCASUS MUSLIMS BOARD}, and GRAND MUFTI OF AZERBAIJAN, GEORGIA, DAGESTAN, CHECHNYA, KABARDINO-BALKARIA, INGUSHETIA, KARACHAY-CHERKESSIA, and ADYGEA.

"In letters and phone calls to Ali Erbaş, the head of Turkey's Presidency of Religious Affairs (Diyanet), the leaders thanked President Erdoğan and hailed the reopening of Hagia Sophia as a mosque, said a Diyanet statement.
In a phone call, Allahshukur Pashazadeh, the chairman of the Caucasus Muslims Board, congratulated Erbaş over Turkey's move."
https://www.diyanet.gov.tr/en-us/Content/PrintDetail/29701
https://www.dailysabah.com/politics/muslim-leaders-praise-ankaras-decision-on-hagia-sophia-mosque/news

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A22. RATEB JNEID, President, AUSTRALIAN FEDERATION OF ISLAMIC COUNCILS (AFIC), AUSTRALIA.

"The AFIC stands with Hagia Sophia and the Government of Turkey.

-- Rateb Jneid, President, AFIC, 12 Jul. 2020.

AFIC notes with distress the various misinformation being shared about the restoration of worship inside Hagia Sophia.

For those who do not know, Hagia Sophia was originally a pagan temple (Encyclopedia Britannica).

After embracing the message of Christ, Emperor Constantine I ordered in 325 that a place of worship for the One True God (as was the mission of Christ) be built on the foundations of the pagan temple.

Hagia Sophia was looted in 1204 by the Venetians and subsequently by Christian Crusaders from the Fourth Crusade (Britannica).

After Sultan Mehmed II liberated Constantinople in 1453, some historical records indicate that, he purchased with his own funds the Hagia Sophia from its Christian owners. The practice of selling churches is not unknown, especially when the congregation no longer needs a church property nor cannot sustain its maintenance. Various church denominations regularly advertise for sale of church property. It is indeed a great thing when a church property is purchased by followers of the Abrahamic tradition and they continue to use it in worship to the God of Abraham, the Patriarch of the three monotheistic faiths.

Hagia Sophia is a large structure that requires constant costly maintenance. The descendants of Sultan Mehmed II spent much money in maintaining the structure and preserving its architectural beauty. Such a cost over centuries of loving care is huge.

To their credit, Turkish governments have protected and continue to protect their Christian, Jewish, and other minorities. These minorities continue to this day to enjoy free control of their places of worship without harassment or discrimination. They also have complete freedom to observe their sacred religious rituals.

Hagia Sophia was no longer needed by Christians as the majority of the people of Constantinople embraced the compassion and beauty of Islam. These same former Christians welcomed the retention of the iconic building as a house of worship for the same One True God.

In 1934, a great crime against faith was committed through repression on the practice of Islam in Turkey; horrific efforts were exerted to sow division between the great Turkish people and the rest of the Muslim world. In 1935, after four centuries of Islamic practice in Hagia Sophia, it was transformed into a museum. It was this deed that wrestled religion from this house of God.

Those who are protesting the reclamation of the Hagia Sophia by its owners and caretakers are ignoring the rich history of the building and the purpose for which it was built  and maintained. It was never built as a museum; it was only an act of repression and vandalism that changed its identity.

For our part, we salute and congratulate President R. T. Erdoğan and the govt. of Turkey for returning Hagia Sophia to the faith community. This move is the right and just thing to do and in doing so the President undid 85 years of injustice to the faith community."

https://twitter.com/ratebjneid/status/1282521583148363779

"The AFIC is proud to stand with His Excellency President R. T. Erdoğan and the Government of Turkey in restoring the Hagia Sophia into a Masjid.

-- Rateb Jneid, President, AFIC, 18 Jul. 2020.

This week, President of Turkey R. T. Erdoğan restored the Hagia Sophia as a place of worship for the One True God, the God of Noah, Abraham, Christ, and Muhammad, peace and blessings upon them. The same God of all faithful monotheists.

Emperor Constantine I, after accepting the message of Christ, peace be upon him, ordered the construction of the Hagia Sophia on the foundations of an old pagan temple. (Encyclopedia Britannica.) Noting the name Hagia Sophia, one can see the commonality between this name and the Islamic tradition. Christ, peace be upon him, is celevrated as one of the most significant messengers of God in the Muslim tradition.

Christian Venetians looted Hagia Sophia in 1204. Crusaders from the fourth crusade also looted Hagia Sophia (Britannica).

When the majority of citizens of Constantinople embraced the beauty and compassion of Islam, the Christian custodians of Hagia Sophia determined to sell this iconic building to Sultan Mehmed II. He and the Ottoman and Turkish leaders ever since continued to care for Hagia Sophia. They continued to use this building as a house of God, they lovingly spent lavishly on its maintenance and preservation.

To its great credit, the Republic of Turkey has historically protected the rights of minorities, including Christians, Jews, and followers of other faiths. In Turkey, all minorities enjoy unhindered control over their places of worship and complete freedom of conscience. The people of Constantinople wanted their Masjid (mosque) restored. Under what right can foreigners protest the peaceful religious use of a property by its rightful owners on their own land?

It was a terrible crime against faith when Hagia Sophia was forcefully transformed from a house of God into a museum in 1935. This building was never intended to be a museum but a house of worship of the One True God.

President Erdoğan and the Govt. of Turkey did what is right and just, they took a very commendable and courageous step that should be celebrated by all people of all faiths. He returned a house of God back into a place of worship, a place where faith is celebrated, a place where the One True God, for Whose worship Hagia Sophia was built, is being worshipped again."
https://twitter.com/ratebjneid/status/1284062804194914305
https://www.aa.com.tr/en/world/muslim-leaders-laud-turkeys-hagia-sophia-move/1914726

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A23. MUFTI ALEKSANDRAS BEGANSKAS, COUNCIL OF LITHUANIAN MUSLIMS RELIGIOUS COMMUNITIES, LITHUANIA.

"Mufti of Lithuania Aleksandras Beganskas who sent a letter of congratulation on behalf of the Council of Lithuanian Muslims Religious Communities, reminded the importance of the Hagia Sophia mosque for the Islamic world and the fact that it is a place of worship which was endowed to the entire Islamic world by Fatih Sultan Mehmet Han and used the following expressions:
`The fact that this blessed place of worship has been chained since 1934 was a problem of all Muslims. Re-liberation of the Hagia Sophia mosque and being turned into a place of worship which is going to give service for all Muslims in the world with the help of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan enjoyed our brothers and sisters who carry the Islamic belief in their hearts. The transfer of the administration of this blessed mosque to the Presidency of Religious Affairs also created a sense of trust and great happiness. We believe that this blessed mosque, which is the symbol of tawhid {monothiesm}, is going to embrace the entire humanity regardless of religion, language, race, and sect under the responsibility of the Presidency of Religious Affair. With this occasion, I would like to congratulate you and all Muslims in the world and wish that may the Almighty Allah make this decision be favorable for the entire humanity.'"
https://www.diyanet.gov.tr/en-us/Content/PrintDetail/29701
https://www.aa.com.tr/en/world/muslim-leaders-laud-turkeys-hagia-sophia-move/1914726

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A24. ISLAMIC RELIGIOUS UNION, N. MACEDONIA.

"The deputy chairman HAFIZ SHAKIR EFENDI FATAHU, who sent a letter on behalf of the Islamic Religious Union of the Republic of Northern Macedonia, expressed their satisfaction for the decision and said, `That the Hagia Sophia has been converted to its essential status as a mosque and that its administration has been transferred to the Turkish Presidency of Religious Affairs made both Macedonian Muslims and all the Muslims in the world, including primarily the citizens of the Republic of Turkey, very happy. I would like to express that the Republic of Turkey under leadership of the President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been a rising star and an indispensable source of hope in the Muslim world and in the eyes of the oppressed ones.'"
https://www.diyanet.gov.tr/en-us/Content/PrintDetail/29701
https://www.dailysabah.com/politics/muslim-leaders-praise-ankaras-decision-on-hagia-sophia-mosque/news

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A25. TURKISH-OCCUPIED CYPRUS.

"Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), recognised only by Turkey, is happy with the opening of Hagia Sophia as a mosque."
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/07/world-reacts-turkey-reconverting-hagia-sophia-mosque-200710135637861.html

"Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) is happy with the opening of Hagia Sophia as a mosque, and the Greek Cypriot administration has no right to object to the decision, country's Prime Minister ERSIN TATAR said on Friday.
"Hagia Sophia has been Turkish, a mosque and a world heritage since 1453. The decision to use it as a mosque, at the same time to be visited as a museum, is sound and it is pleasing," he said.
Tatar added that Greek Cypriot administration, any other state, or institution, should not object to this decision.
"Turkish public has always been respectful to all the beliefs. Different meanings should not be searched under this decision. Especially the Greek Cypriot administration, who burned down our mosques, should not have a say in this," Tatar said.
He congratulated Turkey and wished it will be a good decision for the Muslim world and the entire humanity." 10 Jul. 2020.
https://www.aa.com.tr/en/turkey/northern-cyprus-content-with-hagia-sophia-decision/1906707


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A26. GRAND MUFTI OF OMAN.

"The Grand Mufti of Oman, AHMED BIN HAMAD AL-KHALILI, offered his congratulations to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Muslims worldwide for reopening Hagia Sophia as a mosque.
`We congratulate ourselves, the entire Muslim nation, and particularly the Turkish nation headed by its leader, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, for converting Hagia Sophia back to a house of worship where Allah authorized his name to be raised and mentioned', he said on Twitter."
https://www.aa.com.tr/en/culture/arabs-hail-turkey-s-reopening-of-hagia-sophia-mosque/1908596

"Sheikh Ahmad bin Hamad Al-Khalili, the Grand Mufti of the Sultanate of Oman, congratulated the conversion of Hagia Sophia to a mosque in Turkey, to its President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Islamic Ummah. Sheikh Al-Khalili called the decision to turn Hagia Sophia into a mosque a successful step for the Turkish people and its leader, and said: The support of the Islamic Ummah with this decision is a sign of the great happiness that, God willing, will be achieved with the return of Al-Aqsa Al-Mubarak mosque to the pure hands of the Muslims and the removal of the hands of the occupiers from it."
https://en.shafaqna.com/154633/mufti-of-oman-conversion-of-hagia-sophia-into-a-mosque-is-a-prelude-to-return-of-al-aqsa-mosque-to-muslims/

`Along with the Islamic world, we would like to congratulate our noble Turkish brothers and sisters, their experienced and open-minded leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan being in the first place, who ensured that the Hagia Sophia became a mosque again, that the name of Allah is going to be uttered there day and night, and adhans are going to be recited there. The Hagia Sophia mosque was a mosque from the reign of the Victorious Fatih Sultan Mehmet to the reign of the last sultan of the Ottoman dynasty and the religion of Islam used to be taught there.'
https://www.diyanet.gov.tr/en-us/Content/PrintDetail/29701

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A27. SHAYKH IRFAAN ABRAHAMS, Head, MUSLIM JUDICIAL COUNCIL (MJC-SA), SOUTH AFRICA. SHEIKH MAULANA SHABBIR SALOOJEE, Rector, DARUL ULOOM ZAKARIYYA {MUHAMMADAN UNIVERSITY}, Lenasia, SOUTH AFRICA.

"The head of a major Muslim group in South Africa hailed Turkey’s decision last week to turn Constantinople's iconic Hagia Sophia back into a mosque after decades as a museum.
The Muslim Judicial Council is proud that Hagia Sophia was opened for worship as a mosque, Shaykh Irfaan Abrahams, the group’s head, told Anadolu Agency on Monday.
He congratulated Turkey and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for the decision, calling it `a historic turning point'.
The council also released a statement underlining their support for Turkey’s decision and the country’s importance for Muslims.
Muslims make up about 2% of South Africa’s population of 57 million.
The Muslim Judicial Council, founded in 1945, is known as one of the country’s most important Muslim groups."
https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/south-african-muslims-hail-turkeys-hagia-sophia-move/1909390

"In a press statement, the MJC-SA commended Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for wasting no time to transfer authority of the magnificent Hagia Sophia from Turkey’s Ministry of Culture to the Presidency of Religious Affairs. `We are pleased that the public and judicial process, that started in 2005, was respected and allowed to run its course', said Shaykh Irfaan Abrahams, head of the MJC-SA.
`Places of worship hold great religious and sentimental value to faith communities, and the MJC notes the concerns raised in various quarters around the declaration of the Hagia Sophia as a Masjid since it also holds important religious and historic value to those in the Christian faith.
To this day, even after its conversion to a Masjid in the 15th century by the Ottoman ruler Sultan Mehmed II, the structure still exhibits historic Christian symbols of the period when it served as a Church.
This is a strong indication of the respect shown to this historic structure by the Turkish government.
The MJC is confident that the Turkish government will be cognizant of the sensitivities around this declaration and will continue its rich legacy of preserving the history contained within the walls of this architectural landmark', he added. "
http://alqalam.co.za/mjc-sa-happy-that-hagia-sophia-will-be-a-masjid-once-again-also-pleased-that-christian-sensitivities-will-be-respected/

"Also thanking Erdoğan and hailing the decision was Sheikh Maulana Shabbir Saloojee, the rector of Darul Uloom Zakariyya, an Islamic university in Lenasia, South Africa."
https://www.aa.com.tr/en/world/muslim-leaders-laud-turkeys-hagia-sophia-move/1914726

"The rector of the Dar al-Ulum of the International Islamic University, which is located at Lenasia city of South Africa, Zakariyya Shubayr Ahmad Al-Saloci expressed his thanks to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and emphasized the fact that Turkey made a decision which is highly valuable and precious one in the Islamic history by approving this Council of State in Turkey."
https://www.diyanet.gov.tr/en-us/Content/PrintDetail/29701

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A28. RICHARD B. SPENCER, THE ALTERNATIVE RIGHT {ALT-RIGHT}, USA.

"Hagia Sophia is a monument to *eternity*, not a museum to the past. Though I have mixed feelings on the matter, and on President Erdoğan, I ultimately support the cathedral's transformation into a mosque and being put into the care of Muslims.
Hagia Sophia first became a `museum' in the time of Atatürk, and thus its transformation was part of the modernising process toward secular nationalism and global individualism, recognised as such by the United Nations.
Hagia Sophia's transformation into a mosque marks a coming to an end of 20th-century liberalism. It now returns to being a sacred place, as well as a place of conquest-- not a `neutral' site for fat tourists longing to take selfies outside various `world heritage' destinations.
Constantinople must be the capital of the coming Empire-- announcing the death of liberalism and Western nihilism and the rebirth of Europe and politics on the greatest scale.
Until that day, Muslims will be tasked with maintaining this sacred place." 13 Jul. 2020.
https://twitter.com/richardbspencer/status/1282556535650967552

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A29. ABDULLAH GÜL, President of TURKEY (2007-2014), and Prime minister of TURKEY (2002-2003). AHMET DAVUTOGLU, Prime minister of TURKEY (2014-2016). JUSTICE AND DEVELOPMENT PARTY (AKP).

`May the opening of Hagia Sophia to worship be good. This historic decision made our dear nation happy.'
Gul also congratulated those who worked for Hagia Sophia to receive the status of a mosque and open for worship. 11 Jul. 2020.
https://en.axar.az/news/world/483319.html

"Former Prime Minister (2014-2016) Ahmet Davutoglu, who is in a political conflict with Erdoğan, has said that the awaited dream has become a reality and congratulated the country on restoring the Hagia Sophia’s status as a mosque and symbol of conquest."
https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20200713-hagia-sophia-reconnects-modern-turkey-with-the-legacy-of-the-ottomans/

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A30. KEMAL KıLıÇDAROĞLU, Leader of the Opposition, TURKEY, Chairman, REPUBLICAN PEOPLE'S PARTY (CHP) [Founder: MUSTAFA KEMAL ATATÜRK (1919/1923)], and Former Vice-President, SOCIALIST INTERNATIONAL. DEVLET BAHÇELI, President, NATIONALIST MOVEMENT PARTY (MHP). MUHARRAM INCE, CHP.

"Making a statement regarding the opening of Hagia Sophia to worship, CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said that this would be possible with a decree signed by the President and that they would not object if the Hagia Sophia were opened for worship.
Speaking to Independent in Turkish, Kılıçdaroğlu said, `Erdoğan sits down, writes a decree, and it's written in the Official Gazette and Hagia Sophia opens to worship. If he thinks, `CHP will object to me and I will gain vote from here', no, he shouldn't think about it', he said."
http://en.milligazete.com.tr/kilicdaroglu_we_do_not_object_to_the_opening_of_hagia_sophia_as_a_mosque/9688

"The leader of the official opposition to Erdoğan, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, rejected the invitation for 24 Jul. addressed to him by the head of the Directorate of Religious Affairs, Ali Erbaş, the Hürriyet newspaper revealed yesterday. Kılıçdaroğlu’s answer was `I will not come'.
On the contrary, the leader of the far-right Good Party, Meral Akşener, announced her participation on Friday and will even be present in a different part from that of the men.
A poll conducted by Optimar between 10-14 Jul., following the decision to convert Hagia Sophia into a mosque, shows that 60% of Turkish citizens support the decision to turn the historic monument into a mosque. In fact, compared to Jun., the percentage increased from 48.2% to 60%. Only 27% were in favour of Hagia Sophia staying as a museum, while when asked if it should become a church, the percentage was zero."
https://greekcitytimes.com/2020/07/23/60-of-turkish-citizens-support-hagia-sophia-conversion/

"Greece flying flags at half-mast and tolling church bells over last week’s opening of Constantinople’s Hagia Sophia mosque are its internal matters and no concern of Turkey, said a Turkish opposition party leader on Monday.
Athens seeing some claim over Hagia Sophia mosque, which is well within Turkey’s legitimate and sovereign borders, is proof that Greece is stuck at 567 years ago, when the Ottomans conquered Constantinople, said a statement by Devlet Bahçeli, head of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).
Bahçeli hailed the court ruling as the most important event in recent history, calling the Greek actions in response `fascistic'.
`This attitude of Greece does not serve stability, peace, or tranquility', he added."
https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/greek-protest-means-nothing-to-us-turkish-party-head/1924427

"Muharram Ince, the former leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) who stood against Erdoğan in the 2018 presidential elections, pointed out on Twitter that the Hagia Sophia issue is a matter of Turkish sovereignty, and neither Russia, the US, Europe, Greece, nor any other country or institution can interfere."
https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20200713-hagia-sophia-reconnects-modern-turkey-with-the-legacy-of-the-ottomans/

"The opposition parties also lauded the move to revert Hagia Sophia. Lawmakers gave an applause when the presidential decree was recited at the parliament.
Devlet Bahçeli, head of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) said in a written statement that his party was `pleased' with the court’s ruling. `It has long been our desire for Hagia Sophia to be opened for worship. It is a historic day. Countries which lined up to damage our religious rights and our sovereignty lost', he said, in reference to opposition to the reversion from several countries including Greece. Bahçeli noted that the decision met the legitimate and righteous demand of the Muslim Turkish nation.
MÜSAVAT DERVIŞOĞLU, parliamentary group chair of GOOD PARTY (İP) said the reversion was their `youth dream' and thanked everyone for helping to fulfil this dream.
ÖZGÜR ÖZEL, parliamentary group chair for Republican People’s Party (CHP) said Hagia Sophia was a historic heritage of humanity and said they expected the Presidency of Religious Affairs to apply reversion `without damaging very valuable architectural features of Hagia Sophia'.
MERAL DANıŞ BEŞTAŞ, parliamentary group chair for PEOPLES’S DEMOCRATIC PARTY, said they hoped Hagia Sophia would serve `a uniting purpose'.
TEMEL KARAMOLLAOĞLU, head of FELICITY PARTY, said he appreciated the court ruling. `This is a verdict that complies with our nation’s demand', he said, thanking everyone fighting for a legal action for reversion of Hagia Sophia. MUSTAFA DESTICI, head of GREAT UNION PARTY (BBP) said in a written statement that `chains were broken' with the reopening of the Hagia Sophia as a mosque. `I thank Council of State for this fair verdict and our President for immediately doing what is necessary (for the reversion)', he said."
https://www.dailysabah.com/politics/erdogan-hagia-sophia-to-open-for-worship-on-july-24/news


===



B. Those who OPPOSED STRONGLY.


B1. ARCHBISHOP (EASTERN ORTHODOX) OF ATHENS AND ALL GREECE, IERONYMOS II LIAPIS.

`The transformation of religion into an instrument for achieving party, geopolitical, and geostrategic goals only characterises the person who uses it to do so. Provocation and insults apply not only to the Orthodox Church and Christianity but also to all civilised humanity, every sentient being, regardless of religion.' 11 Jul. 2020.
https://sputniknews.com/world/202007121079863090-greek-church-says-erdogan-using-religion-for-political-goals-by-converting-hagia-sophia-/

"When Hagia Sophia reopened as a mosque, church bells rang in mourning across Greece and flags flew at half-staff.
The head of the Church of Greece, Archbishop Ieronymos II, called the reconversion an `ungodly defiling act', adding that today is `a day of mourning for all of Christendom'.
The Archbishop will hold a special mass in the Athens Cathedral in the evening, during which he is expected to sing the Christian-Orthodox Akathist hymn for the Virgin Mary; a chant believed to have been first sung in the year 626 to thank the Virgin for protecting Constantinople during a Persian-Avar siege."
https://www.euronews.com/2020/07/24/church-of-greece-mourning-as-istanbul-s-6th-century-hagia-sophia-is-reconverted-into-a-mos

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B2. PATRIARCH (EASTERN ORTHODOX) OF MOSCOW AND ALL RUSSIA, KIRILL II GUNDYAYEV.

"If Turkey decides to convert Constantinople’s Hagia Sophia, now a museum and originally a Byzantine Christian church, into an active mosque, this could sow discord between Christians and Muslims, the Russian Orthodox Church has warned.
`A threat to Hagia Sophia is a threat to the entire Christian civilisation', Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, said in his address, pointing to the huge religious significance the 6th century temple played in the history of Orthodoxy and Russia.
Hagia Sophia played a certain role in the baptism of the Kievan Rus, a state that spanned parts of modern-day Belarus, Ukraine, and Russia, and adopted Christianity in the late 10th century. According to the old chronicles, the ‘heavenly beauty’ of the temple captivated envoys sent by Prince Vladimir the Great and their accounts influenced his decision to adopt Christianity and baptize his nation.
`The image of this church has become deeply ingrained in our culture and history', the patriarch said, adding that `Hagia Sophia remains a great Christian shrine for every Russian Orthodox believer' to this day.
Converting it into a mosque once again – something the temple now-turned-museum was during the times of the Ottoman Empire – could heighten religious tensions inside Turkey and sour its relations with some other nations, the Russian Orthodox Church head warned.
`It is a duty of every civilised state to maintain balance: to reconcile society, and not aggravate discords in it; to help unite people, and not divide them', Kirill said, adding that the move mulled by Ankara would `inflict great pain on the Russian people' and potentially hurt relations between Moscow and Ankara as well.
Earlier, the Kremlin also urged Ankara to consider the temple’s cultural and historical significance before following its plans. Yet, it also said that the issue is the `Turkish Republic’s internal affair'."
https://www.rt.com/news/493978-russian-orthodox-church-hagia-sophia/
Text in Russian: https://mospat.ru/ru/2020/07/06/news185298/

"Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev calls transformation of Hagia Sophia into mosque `a slap in the face of the entire Christianity’
`The internal political situation in Turkey and the factors that have prompted the Turkish leaders to make such a decision can be given different assessments. But the spiritual and cultural heritage of the whole world should not become a hostage to a current political situation. It is too bad that a political expediency has come out on top of the respect for other religious traditions. The transformation of Hagia Sophia into a mosque is the Turkish leaders’ slap in the face of the Orthodox Church and the whole world Christianity.
Hagia Sophia was built as a church dedicated to Jesus Christ, and we, Orthodox Christians, cannot see it in a different way. Since 1934 to this day, Hagia Sophia has had the status of museum, which gave both Christians and Muslims and people of other religions an opportunity to come to it without difficulty. For Orthodox Christians Hagia Sophia is the same as is for Catholics the St. Peter’s Cathedral in Rome. This church is a symbol and one of the greatest Christian shrines,' he added stressing that Christians cannot and will not see it otherwise, and noted that such a decision of the Turkish state leadership cannot but causes disappointment."
Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev of Volokolamsk, Department for External Church Relations (DECR), 10 Jul. 2020.
Interview: https://mospat.ru/en/2020/07/10/news185363/

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B3. MATTEO SALVINI, Federal Secy., LEGA NORD, and Former Deputy PM and Minister of the Interior, ITALY; at MILAN {MEDIOLANUM}.

"A protest outside the Turkish consulate in Milan was organised by Matteo Salvini, Federal Secretary of the Lega Nord, holding placards with slogans such as `Turkey will never be in Europe' and `Hands off Hagia Sophia.'
Salvini stressed that `it is not possible to convert world historical and political-- beyond Christian religious-- heritage into mosques. It is not possible for Islamic fanaticism to erase centuries of history, rights, freedom, and conquest. And therefore it is not possible for the Turkish regime to convert churches into mosques without anyone saying a word. Let us hope that the international community and the European Union, which is flooded by the Turkish regime with millions of Turks, will react. They said it was only the first step. If we bow our heads, in a little while we will see the cathedral [of Milan] being converted into a mosque.'
He also added that he would block any kind of funding to the Turkish regime `and I would close once and for all the issue of Turkey’s accession to Europe. We have given more than 10 billion euros to a regime that is converting basilicas into mosques, and I think we have gone too far.'”
https://orthodoxtimes.com/matteo-salvini-hands-off-hagia-sophia/

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B4. BASHAR AL-ASSAD, President of SYRIA.

"The Syrian regime has said it will build a miniature replica of Constantinople's Hagia Sophia in response to Turkey's conversion of the UNESCO World Heritage site into a mosque.
Russia, a major ally of Syria's Bashar al-Assad, will assist in building the mini Hagia Sophia in HAMA to show the importance of `peaceful dialogue' between faiths.
Syria's Hagia Sophia replica will be built in AL-SUQAYLABIYAH {SELEUCIA AD BELUM}, a Greek Orthodox Christian-majority city in the central Syrian province of Hama.
A Russian team based in the Hmeimim military base in Latakia is currently working on plans for the replica, according to Russian lawmaker Vitaly Milonov.
Syria will be an excellent location for the faithful Hagia Sophia replica because `unlike Turkey, it is a country that clearly shows the possibility of peaceful and positive interfaith dialogue', Milonov said.
The project was initiated by NABEUL AL-ABDULLAH, the leader of a pro-regime militia in Al-Suqaylabiyah. Abdullah obtained the approval of BISHOP (EASTERN ORTHODOX) NICOLAS BAALBAKI, of Hama, and then presented the plans to the Russian military.
The militia leader donated a piece of land on which the replica will be built."
https://english.alaraby.co.uk/english/news/2020/7/28/russia-to-help-build-mini-hagia-sophia-in-syria
https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2020/07/29/russia-to-help-syria-build-replica-hagia-sophia-following-turkish-mosque-conversion-a71009

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B5. ARAYIK HARUTYUNYAN, President of ARTSAKH.

`By the decision of granting a status of a mosque to Hagia Sophia, the Turkish authorities reaffirmed their denialist and xenophobic attitude towards civilisations. And every response of the superpowers with Christian values on this topic is very much like the sigh of a sick and helpless person, as long as there remains the denial of the Armenian Genocide, the Armenian-Turkish closed border, and the genocidal acts by Turkey in the Middle East'.' 10 Jul. 2020.
https://armenpress.am/eng/news/1021355.html

`Converting #HagiaSophia, #UNESCO World Heritage Site, to a mosque is another display of Turkey's disrespect for cultural heritage, long-term consequence of standing unaccountable for #ArmenianGenocide & its denial, ongoing destruction of #Armenian culture's material testimonies.' 10 Jul. 2020.
https://twitter.com/Pres_Artsakh/status/1281892148791697409
https://en.armradio.am/2020/07/11/converting-hagia-sophia-to-a-mosque-a-display-of-turkeys-disrespect-for-cultural-heritage-artsakh-president/

War in Artsakh, 27 Sep. 2020 - 10 Nov. 2020.
https://roadtoartsakh.am/

Declaration ending the War: https://en.armradio.am/2020/11/10/statement-by-leaders-of-armenia-russia-and-azerbaijan/

Address of the President of Artsakh, 10 Nov. 2020.
https://armenpress.am/eng/news/1034470.html
https://www.civilnet.am/news/2020/11/10/President-of-Karabakh-Speaks-About-the-Hard-Decisions-He-Had-to-Agree-to/407198

President of Artsakh Arayik Harutyunyan has addressed the nation today, presenting what has served as a base for making a decision to stop the war.

He reminded that in the morning of 8 Nov. 2020 he posted a photo from the Stepanakert square and stated that it has been one of the hardest daybreaks of his life. `Why I have announced that without opening the brackets? Because on 7 Nov. we have completely lost the control on the city of Shushi. Today I want to announce that I perhaps had the most difficult night in my life, in case when I experienced many difficult days by losing many friends in 1992-1994, whose last word has been in my hands. But I managed to find a strength, concentrate, and make decisions. But the decision, which was made yesterday, I don’t know what assessment the history will give, but we had to', the President of Artsakh said.

He explained why: `During the military operations which lasted 43 days we have lost Fisuli region, Jabrayil, Ghubatlu, Zangelan, Hadrut region mostly, a part from Martuni region, Askeran region and especially Shushi. The battles were taking place on the outskirts of Stepanakert, 2-3 km away. If the military operations continued in this pace, we would have lost entire Artsakh within several days, we would have much more losses', the President said.

He said for several days it seemed the Armenian side managed to be defended from UAVs, but in the past two days the adversary has applied new technologies, new UAVs and caused much more damages to the Armenian troops.

`Definitely, we didn’t fight against Azerbaijan only. Not only the Turkish officer staff or equipment, but also Turkish military, as well as terrorists and mercenaries have participated in the military operations', he said. 

`But everything is ahead. Artsakh, Armenia, the Armenian people have experienced many difficult days within the course of the history, but managed to move on in the right way by making clever decisions in the future and recording success. And who said that everything is over? Everything is just starting. We will have an opportunity to make a more sober decision, but for that we need solidarity firstly in Armenia, Artsakh, and within the Armenian people. We have a dream, a dreamed homeland, therefore we need to keep the solidarity and refrain from phenomena which are not typical to the Armenian people. We have opportunities of making civilised decisions, holding discussions. Everything is yet starting, I don’t want to open the brackets, everything, we have not been defeated, everything is ahead, we should think, think again and assess, and again make decisions', the President of Artsakh said.

Editing and translating by Aneta Harutyunyan.

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B6. ARMENIA, via its foreign ministry.

“`Hagia Sophia is not merely a historical and cultural monument. Throughout its history, it has been bearing diverse religious, cultural and political significance', Spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Anna A. Naghdalyan said in a statement.
`Granting a museum status to Hagia Sophia and inscribing it on the UNESCO World Heritage List symbolised cooperation and unity of humankind instead of clash of civilisations. Regrettably, the recent decision of the Turkish authorities brings to a close this important mission and symbolism of Hagia Sophia', she added.
Naghdalyan said the decision creates a dangerous precedent for substantial changes of the purpose and the meaning of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. This situation calls for close monitoring by the international community, particularly the UNESCO, for the preservation of historic sites with such status in the territory of Turkey." 10 Jul. 2020.
https://en.armradio.am/2020/07/11/armenia-deeply-concerned-about-turkeys-decision-on-hagia-sophia-status/
https://www.mfa.am/en/interviews-articles-and-comments/2020/07/11/st_soph/10357

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B7. KYRIAKOS MITSOTAKIS, Prime minister of GREECE. LINA MENDONI, Minister of Culture, GREECE. NIKOS DENDIAS, Foreign minister of GREECE. MILTIADIS VARVITSIOTIS, Alternate Foreign minister.

"Greece described Turkey's move an `open provocation to the civilised world'.
`The nationalism displayed by Erdoğan ... takes his country back six centuries', Culture Minister Lina Mendoni said in a statement.
Mendoni further said the court ruling `absolutely confirms that there is no independent justice' in Turkey." 10 Jul. 2020.
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/07/world-reacts-turkey-reconverting-hagia-sophia-mosque-200710135637861.html

Statement by the Prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, 10 Jul. 2020.
`Greece categorically condemns Turkey's decision to convert Hagia Sophia to a mosque. This decision, taken 85 years after Hagia Sophia was declared a museum, is an affront to its ecumenical character. Furthermore, it is a decision that offends all those who recognize Hagia Sophia as an indispensable part of world cultural heritage. This decision clearly affects not only Turkey's relations with Greece but also its relations with the European Union, UNESCO, and the world community as a whole. It is a truly regretful development that the Turkish leadership, after working for the Alliance of Civilisations in 2005, has now taken the decision to reverse course.'
https://www.ekathimerini.com/254625/article/ekathimerini/news/mitsotakis-denounces-turkeys-decision-to-turn-hagia-sophia-into-mosque
Alternative translation:
`Greece condemns in the strongest terms Turkey's decision to convert the Hagia Sophia into a mosque. This decision -that came 85 years since its designation as a museum- is an offense to its universal nature. This is a decision that offends all those who acknowledge the monument as part of world civilisation. Of course, this affects Turkey's relations not only with Greece but also with the European Union, UNESCO and the global community as a whole. It is regrettable that Turkey’s leadership, who worked to establish the Alliance of Civilisations in 2005, today opted to move in the exact opposite direction.'
https://www.mfa.gr/en/current-affairs/statements-speeches/statement-by-prime-minister-kyriakos-mitsotakis.html

Interview with Nikos Densias, Foreign minister of Greece, 12 Jul. 2020.
https://www.mfa.gr/en/current-affairs/statements-speeches/interview-of-minister-of-foreign-affairs-nikos-dendias-on-skai-tv-with-journalist-giorgos-aftias-12-july-2020.html

12 Jul. 2020.
https://www.mfa.gr/en/current-affairs/statements-speeches/interview-of-alternate-minister-of-foreign-affairs-miltiadis-varvitsiotis-on-skai-tv-with-journalist-giorgos-aftias-main-points-12-july-2020.html
https://www.mfa.gr/en/current-affairs/statements-speeches/alternate-minister-for-foreign-affairs-miltiadis-varvitsiotis-interview-in-the-sunday-vima-with-journalist-angelos-athanasopoulos-sunday-12-july-2020.html

"The Greek Prime minister has had enough of Turkey’s `unnecessary and petty' decision to reconvert Hagia Sophia into a mosque, demanding a more `comprehensive European response'.
In a a joint press conference with visiting Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, Kyriakos Mitsotakis spoke about the Turkish President’s `unprecedented decision' to change the status of Hagia Sophia, which redescribed as `regressive'.
`Hagia Sophia has become a world heritage monument and that does not change', adding that `history teaches us that the world’s heritage can not become a tug-of-war between states'.
`The unprecedented decision regarding the character of Hagia Sophia hurts us as Greek Orthodox Christians, but it also hurts us as citizens of the world. This issue is not a Greek-Turkish issue, it is not even a Euro-Turkish issue, it is global. It is a universal issue.
Turkey's dispute of our sovereign rights and international law means it is time for more dynamic reactions. United and determined, Europe must now draw up a specific list of action and sanctions against a country that asserts the role of the regional trouble-maker and is developing into threat for regional stability.'
The Greek PM also commented on Ankara’s activities in the Eastern Mediterranean, re-addressing Turkey’s violation of international law by drilling in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone, disregarding the fact that it is a candidate country for EU membership." 14 Jul. 2020.
https://greekherald.com.au/news/mitsotaki-calls-for-sanctions-against-turkey-in-meeting-with-cypriot-president/

"Prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has asked for clear choices and tough sanctions against Turkey at the European Council on Friday, according to a government official.
The prime minister raised the issue of the conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque, saying that this was indicative of the manner in which Turkey approaches international agreements, mutual respect and inter-religious dialogue. He also asked for an in-depth discussion of the EU-Turkey relationship at the next European Council, the source said." 17 Jul. 2020.
https://orthodoxtimes.com/greek-pm-hagia-sophia-issue-is-indicative-of-how-turkey-approaches-international-agreements/

`What is happening today in Constantinople is not a manifestation of power but a proof of weakness. They certainly do not have the power to overshadow the radiance of a world heritage site. But universal values are tainted. That is why they demand a universal condemnation.' Prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, 24 Jul. 2020.
https://www.ekathimerini.com/255087/article/ekathimerini/news/pm-hails-restoration-of-democracy-slams-weakness-of-hagia-sophia-conversion

Statement on invasion of Cyprus by Turkey in 1974: https://www.mfa.gr/en/current-affairs/statements-speeches/minister-of-foreign-affairs-nikos-dendias-statement-on-the-46th-anniversary-of-the-turkish-invasion-of-cyprus-20-july-2020.html
Statement by R. T. Erdoğan: https://www.tccb.gov.tr/en/speeches-statements/558/120664/following-is-the-message-president-recep-tayyip-erdogan-issued-on-the-46th-anniversary-of-cyprus-peace-operation

Ministry of Foreign Affairs announcement on the conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque, 24 Jul. 2020:
`Altering the nature of important cultural monuments indisputably deals a blow to the cultural heritage of humanity.
This alteration constitutes a violation of Turkey’s obligations that derive from the UNESCO Convention of 1972, and casts a dark shadow on its image.
The use of monuments of such radiance and powerful symbolism must transcend any expediencies and should function in a way that unites and reconciles the global community.
Changing the use of the monument, beyond the symbolism of such a move, seriously jeopardises the integrity of the structure, the mosaics and other works of art in its interior.
We will work to raise and maintain awareness in the global community, because the conversion of Hagia Sophia – a UNESCO world heritage site – into a mosque is an issue that concerns all of humanity.
At a time when we need convergence and steps towards unity, moves that foment religious and cultural division, widening rather than bridging rifts, do not contribute to understanding and closer relations among peoples.'

`The 21st century’s international community is witnessing with astonishment the rants of religious and nationalist fanaticism in present-day Turkey. They have been condemned and are unworthy of an answer, while they increasingly expose internationally those who utter and incite them.' 25 Jul. 2020.
https://www.mfa.gr/en/current-affairs/statements-speeches/ministry-of-foreign-affairs-announcement-on-statements-by-the-spokesperson-of-the-turkish-ministry-of-foreign-affairs.html

"Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs: The issue of Hagia Sophia is international.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nikos Dendias, took a stand for all the burning issues concerning Greek-Turkish relations, in the midst of the escalation of the tension.
The head of Greek diplomacy was in favor of dialogue with the neighbour country on the real differences and not on `imaginary differences', while he sent a strong message that in case of violation of the sovereign rights of Greece there will be no compromise. `It is our obligation under the Constitution', he said when asked about a possible military response to Ankara.
Regarding the conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque, according to the Greek Minister of Foreign affairs, it is a trap to consider this a bilateral issue. `It is not a Greek-Turkish dispute but an international issue. It is a trap that Turkey would like to lead us to', he said, announcing a series of actions with Culture Minister Lina Mendoni.
In any case, he claimed that Athens has requested and Josep Borrell (EU's High representative for Foreign affairs and Security policy) has been instructed to prepare a list of sanctions that will affect important sectors of the Turkish economy.
`We do not want a poor and excluded Turkey, we want the EU to have an arsenal ready to show Turkey what is in the interest of its own society.'" 28 Jul. 2020.
https://orthodoxtimes.com/greek-minister-of-foreign-affairs-the-issue-of-hagia-sophia-is-international/

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B8. NICOS ANASTASIADES, President of CYPRUS. NIKOS CHRISTODOULIDES, Foreign minister of CYPRUS.

`The transformation of #HagiaSophia into a mosque is a challenge for the whole civilised world and the international institutions that represent it. It is a historical diversion and desecration of a world heritage site of special value to Christians everywhere.' 10 Jul. 2020.
https://twitter.com/AnastasiadesCY/status/1281647914448822272

"Cypriot Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides, posted on his official Twitter account that Cyprus `strongly condemns Turkey's actions on Hagia Sophia in its effort to distract domestic opinion and calls on Turkey to respect its international obligations.'" 10 Jul. 2020.
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/07/world-reacts-turkey-reconverting-hagia-sophia-mosque-200710135637861.html

"Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades said Greece and Cyprus sought dialogue, peace, and stability and did not engage in provocative actions unlike Turkey." 14 Jul. 2020.
https://greekherald.com.au/news/mitsotaki-calls-for-sanctions-against-turkey-in-meeting-with-cypriot-president/

"Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades commented on EU-Turkey relations with a post on Twitter noting that: `Whenever #Turkey violates international law and undermines the vital interests of the #EU and its member states, the Union should respond collectively and decisively in concrete terms.'" 17 Jul. 2020.
https://orthodoxtimes.com/greek-pm-hagia-sophia-issue-is-indicative-of-how-turkey-approaches-international-agreements/

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B9. ARCHBISHOP (EASTERN ORTHODOX) OF TIRANA AND ALL ALBANIA, ANASTASIOS YANNOULATOS.

"Archbishop Anastasios of Tirana and all Albania deemed the decision and actions of Turkey as despicable as they undermine our greatest hope for the peaceful coexistence of religions and cultures.
`This decision belongs to the tragic actions which undermine the greatest hope of our epoch, the peaceful coexistence of religions and cultures.
This decision returns us back to the darkest convolutions of history. It creates a general puzzlement and indignation, not only among Christians, but also among moderate Muslims. It hearkens to a shadow of cultural jihad.
A country like Turkey, which desires to be on the vanguard, chooses the role of an arresting cultural rearguard.
Many times I have emphasized that for the oil of religion to be used to ignite and serve nationalist goals is a sin and tragic mistake. The noble goal of religions is to soothe the wounds and pacify the souls of humankind', he said."
https://orthodoxtimes.com/albanian-archbishop-about-hagia-sophia-this-decision-turns-us-back-to-dark-times/

"Outrageous insult against Christianity and Islam: As he stressed in the Greek newspaper Ta Nea, Turkey’s intolerant attitude towards its decision on Hagia Sophia is not only a kind of cultural `jihad' (`Holy War') at a time when jihadists are condemned internationally, but also it is an insult both against Christianity and Islam.
`They converted the wonderful church of indivisible Christianity into a mosque. They try to cover up its beautiful face, to make its wonderful icons useless, and to hide its expressive eyes', he stressed. He also said, `In addition, they inaugurate a strange type of mosque, which is strange to the classical Islamic one, with Christian icons being covered up, which in their eloquent silence do not cease to bear testament to the Christian truth. I do not know whether there is any similar Islamic place of worship in the world.'
`The stubbornness of the Turkish authorities underscores what we have been highlighting in recent decades: violence in the name of religion violates the sanctity of religion itself. And no one, no matter how strong and great one thinks one is, has the right to despise this universal truth', he concluded."
https://orthodoxtimes.com/archbishop-of-albania-on-hagia-sophia-outrageous-insult-against-christianity-and-islam/

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B10. Eastern Orthodox Church, UGANDA.

`Hagia Sophia was the Roman Empire's first #Christian cathedral & is among the best-known Byzantine structures in the world. Converting it to a #mosque is unacceptable. On 5.5.2019, @Orthodox_ug laid foundation stone for Hagia Sophia Cathedral in #Uganda. #RestoreHagiaSophia'
https://twitter.com/Orthodox_ug/status/1281710099493531652

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B11. A. MUHAIMIN ISKANDAR, NATIONAL AWAKENING PARTY (PKB), INDONESIA.

"Indonesia’s largest Islamic political party issued an appeal to Muslims and people of good will of every faith and nation, to prevent the weaponisation of religion for political purposes. Responding to inflammatory remarks by President Erdoğan of Turkey, the National Awakening Party (PKB) warned that `the rules-based international order is under severe stress, challenged by the emergence of authoritarian, civilisationist states that do not accept this order, whether in terms of human rights, rule of law, democracy, or respect for international borders and the sovereignty of other nations.’

The PKB statement comes in response to an Arabic-language tweet, in which President Erdoğan summoned Muslims `in every corner of the earth' to follow Turkey’s lead in reawakening the Islamic nation, or Ummah, which was largely united under the political and military leadership of a Caliph from the 7th century CE until the dissolution of the Ottoman Caliphate in 1924.

As PKB Chairman H. Muhaimin Iskandar warned members of the world’s largest political network, Centrist Democrat International (CDI), in Jan. of 2020 at the CDI Eurasia Forum in Yogyakarta, Indonesia: `When religions are deliberately placed upon a collision course, it becomes extremely difficult to prevent universal conflict, for every religion claims to espouse a universal mission. When various religious groups live side by side, closely intermixed, religious conflict will inevitably provoke social unrest and violence, which in turn will lead to widespread enmity or even the expulsion of minorities unable to defend themselves, something that we can clearly see happening in various parts of the world today.'

President Erdoğan has defended the conversion of Hagia Sofia into a mosque by citing Turkey’s right, as a sovereign nation state, to do as it pleases with the former Eastern Orthodox Christian cathedral. However, Erdoğan’s statements to the Muslim world belie this argument. His remarks, in Arabic, are attacking the rules-based international order; inflaming emotions `wherever Muslims dwell throughout the earth'; and threaten to rekindle a clash of civilisations that afflicted humanity for nearly 1300 years, along a fault line stretching `from Bukhara (in Central Asia) to al-Andalus (Spain).' The effects of President Erdoğan’s words and actions thus extend far beyond Turkey’s borders and threaten both Muslim-majority and non-Muslim nations worldwide.

This may be clearly seen by the fact that Erdoğan’s statements were swiftly endorsed by the Muslim Brotherhood, Iran, and a wide range of Islamic supremacists worldwide, including Indonesian Muslims who seek to transform the multi-religious and pluralistic Republic of Indonesia into an Islamic State or Caliphate.

Erdoğan’s remarks also threaten peace and security in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, where similar narratives employed by al-Qaeda, ISIS, al-Shabab, and Boko Haram, have led to countless terrorist attacks and produced millions of refugees. In Feb. of 2019, at a gathering of some 20,000 Muslim religious scholars, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU)-- the world’s largest Muslim organisation, with over 90 million followers-- endorsed the 2017 Gerakan Pemuda Ansor Declaration on Humantarian Islam, which states:

The Islamic world is in the midst of a rapidly metastasizing crisis, with no apparent sign of remission. Among the most obvious manifestations of this crisis are the brutal conflicts now raging across a huge swath of territory inhabited by Muslims, from Africa and the Middle East to the borders of India; rampant social turbulence throughout the Islamic world; the unchecked spread of religious extremism and terror; and a rising tide of Islamophobia among non-Muslim populations, in direct response to these developments.

Most of the political and military actors engaged in these conflicts pursue their competing agendas without regard to the cost in human lives and misery. This has led to an immense humanitarian crisis, while heightening the appeal and dramatically accelerating the spread of a de facto Islamist revolutionary movement that threatens the stability and security of the entire world, by summoning Muslims to join a global insurrection against the current world order.

In the midst of these circumstances, it is the height of irresponsibility for Recep Erdoğan to further inflame Muslim emotions in pursuit of his domestic political agenda and to serve as a cover for his violation of international norms-- by drilling for natural gas within the territorial waters of Cyprus and Greece; supporting al-Nusra (an affiliate of al-Qaeda) in Syria; and intervening in the Libyan conflict on behalf of the Islamist-dominated interim government-- in an effort to enhance Turkish regional power and assert maritime rights in the eastern Mediterranean.

As Indonesia knows from its colonial history-- and from recent efforts by China to claim “traditional fishing rights” within Indonesia’s territorial waters near the island of Natuna-- President Erdoğan’s actions and statements threaten to return human relations to a Hobbesian state of nature, in which the law of the jungle prevails. For if international law is no longer the yardstick for governing disputes between nations, any country that is sufficiently powerful may seize lands or waters internationally recognised as belonging to a smaller nation, and defy the weaker power to assert its claim by force.' 21 Jul. 2020.
https://www.idc-cdi.com/statement-by-indonesias-national-awakening-party/

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B12. SHAWKY ALLAM, GRAND MUFTI OF EGYPT.

"Turkey's conversion of the Hagia Sophia to a mosque is `impermissible', Egypt's Grand Mufti said, adding that places of worship should remain as they are.
Churches and mosques must be preserved around the world, as has been the case during the entirety of Egypt's history, Shawky Allam said, making reference to a previous fatwa by Laith bin Saad Fakih of Egypt who ruled that churches are part of earth's architecture in Islam.
Islamic texts tell us that we are protectors and defenders, and should therefore take great care with human cultural heritage, the Mufti said, noting that the companions of the Prophet Muhammed had been intelligent in applying legal order when they travelled to Egypt, the Levant and Iraq, as well as countries that were home to civilisations including Persian, Roman and Pharaonic.
The Sphinx and the temples were left unharmed, he noted during an interview on the `Al nathra' show on Egypt's local Sada al-Balad channel."
https://english.alaraby.co.uk/english/news/2020/7/18/turkeys-hagia-sophia-mosque-conversion-forbidden-egypt-mufti

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B13. NOURA AL-KAABI, Minister of Culture, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES.

`Hagia Sophia has been a historic landmark for thousands of years. Changing its status will harm its cultural value. It has remained a valuable symbol and icon of interfaith dialogue between cultures and civilisations.'
https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics/International-relations/Turkish-plan-to-make-Hagia-Sophia-a-mosque-splits-friends-and-foes

"A UAE minister has said cultural landmarks should `neither be misused nor altered'.
Noura Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Youth, said cultural heritage should be preserved for the good of society.
`It should neither be misused nor altered through change in a way that touches the human essence', she said.
`Especially for sites that are inscribed under World Heritage by Unesco. They have exceptional international value, and are the common heritage of all peoples and cultures.'
On Saturday, Ms Al Kaabi said the status of Hagia Sophia was changed without any regard to its wider value.
`It has remained a global landmark with significant cultural legacy. It also served as a bridge connecting different peoples and cementing their bonds', she said.
`World heritage sites have become the platforms for knowledge exchange between diverse cultures and civilisations that evolved in history across time. Hagia Sophia is an important example of interaction and dialogue between Asia and Europe and should remain a witness to harmonious human history.'
Ms. Al Kabbi emphasised the importance of the statement issued by Unesco, which had stressed that Hagia Sophia was part of Constantinople's rich history.
`It is designated as a heritage museum by Unesco. It is an architectural marvel and is a unique witness to the interaction between Asia and Europe across centuries. It is a symbol of dialogue', she said."
https://www.thenational.ae/uae/heritage/uae-minister-calls-for-cultural-landmarks-to-be-preserved-amid-turkish-move-to-turn-heritage-site-into-mosque-1.1047642

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B14. PATRIARCH (EASTERN ORTHODOX) OF MTSKHETA-TBILISI AND ALL GEORGIA, ILIA II GHUDUSHAURI-SHIOLASHVILI.

`The Orthodox Church of Georgia is following and observing the promulgated information that the Hagia Sophia, which was built as an outstanding Christian church and functioned as such for nearly 1,000 years, may change its status.
It is also known that this statement made by the Turkish side was conditioned by certain reasons; however, at present, as humanity is facing many global challenges, maintaining and strengthening benevolence between Christians and Muslims is very important. We think it will be a wise step today if the Hagia Sophia remains a neutral place.
Holding in respect the sovereignty of the Republic of Turkey, we hope that our attitude to this matter will be understood by the friendly country not as our interference in its internal affairs but rather as the opinion and expression of heartache from one of the oldest Orthodox Churches.
We hope that the good neighbourly, friendly and strategic relations between Turkey and Georgia will continue to deepen, which will be very beneficial for both countries.' 9 Jul. 2020.
https://patriarchate.ge/news/2634

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B15. PATRIARCH (ORIENTAL ORTHODOX) OF ETCHMIADZIN-VAGHARSHAPAT AND ALL ARMENIA, KAREKIN II NERSESSIAN.

`At the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, we learned with regret about the decision made by the President of the Republic of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, on 10 Jul., to turn the Hagia Sophia, which holds the highest value to the Orthodox Churches and entire Christian world, into a mosque. Contrary to appeals from various Christian organisations, Christian church leaders and political leaders, the Turkish government has taken a unilateral and reprehensible decision, violating the rights of national religious minorities in Turkey.
We note with regret that the calls and concerns of millions of Christians were ignored, despite even the fact that the Hagia Sophia is included in the World Heritage List of Unsceo.
The Armenian Apostolic Holy Church and the Armenian people, as a people who survived the Genocide in Ottoman Turkey, share the pain and anxiety of our Eastern Orthodox brothers and sisters. The Armenian Church, which lost thousands of churches and religious and cultural values during the Armenian Genocide, condemns the decision of the Turkish government, which greatly harms the process of understanding and dialogue of religions based on political interests, while calling for its reconsideration and return to the principle of peaceful prayer coexistence of different religious communities. During the upsurge of history and political changes, St. Sophia Cathedral has acquired a different religious, cultural, and political significance in addition to its purely historical and cultural value, becoming a symbol of cooperation and unity of mankind, not the clash of civilisations.
With our prayers we support our beloved brother, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, and our sisters and brothers of the Eastern Orthodox Church in this difficult situation created by this unilateral decision.' 11 Jul. 2020.
https://panorthodoxsynod.blogspot.com/2020/07/the-reflections-of-his-holiness-karekin.html
https://news.am/eng/news/591102.html

Letter of R. T. Erdoğan to Archbishop (Oriental Orthodox / Armenian) of Turkey, Sahak Maşalyan, 24 Apr. 2020:
https://www.tccb.gov.tr/en/speeches-statements/558/119167/the-letter-president-recep-tayyip-erdogan-sent-to-armenian-patriarch-of-turkey-reverend-sahak-masalyan
`Distinguished members of the Armenian community,
I salute you with affection and respect.
The solidarity among our citizens continues to grow stronger during these difficult times we are going through together with the entire world. I pray to my Lord that we will reach the future in a more united manner and with stronger feelings of unity and solidarity.
I remember with respect the Ottoman Armenians who lost their lives under harsh conditions of the First World War, which caused the world’s peoples to suffer great sorrows, and offer my sincere condolences to their grandchildren. On this occasion, I wish Allah’s mercy upon all the Ottoman citizens who passed away during that painful period.
We have, under no circumstances, allowed even a single citizen of ours to be otherised or discriminated against because of their faith or identity, and we never will.
It is the common objective of all of us to build the future all together by gaining strength from the past only for friendship and the same higher ideal of humanity.
We are all aware of the circles working to create hostility out of the past by ignoring our unity that emerged from the bosom of Anatolia. While we desire and work for a future full of unity, prosperity and tranquility, it is our most important wish that the circles that aim for the opposite are not allowed.
With these thoughts in my mind, I once again remember with respect and mercy the Ottoman Armenians whom we lost during the First World War.
Peace be upon you all!'


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B16. ARCHBISHOP (ORIENTAL ORTHODOX / ARMENIAN) OF ANTELIAS AND ALL CILICIA, ARAM I KESHISHIAN.

"Although the Armenian and International press have repeatedly asked for the opinion of Aram I, he preferred to remain silent until the pronouncement of the ruling of the Turkish Administrative Court. In the light of the court ruling, the following statement was made:
`First, the initiative of the President of Turkey ignores the symbolic meaning of the spiritual and cultural monuments, as well as international conventions, and distorts historical facts.
Second, prompted by its internal and external interests, as well as its international political ambitions, Turkey is ignoring the reactions of its old and new friends.
Third, Turkey’s present policy will destroy the confidence gained so far in Christian-Muslim cooperation and dialogue on local, regional and international levels. Turkey is ignoring such warnings.
Fourth, the current ruling reveals the cynicism and hypocrisy behind Turkey’s stated intention to open up to the West and Christian communities.
Fifth, I ask the political and religious leaders to remember that soon after the Armenian Genocide, Turkey confiscated thousands of Armenian Churches and transformed them into bars, coffee shops and public parks ignoring the reactions and appeals of the international community.
Yes, genocide continues by the same genocidal authorities in the full view of the world. The chauvinist ideology of the Ottoman Empire is infiltrating and spreading throughout the Arab World and the West.'" 11 Jul. 2020.
https://www.armenianorthodoxchurch.org/en/archives/37071

"Turkey continues to encroach on spiritual and cultural values, Aram I wrote on his Facebook.
According to him, in recent days, church leaders, as well as the international community, have called on Turkey not to resort to this step.
`Turkey, at the initiative of its president, actually continues its behavior by infringing on spiritual and cultural values, ignoring the principles established by international law, and falsifying history', he added. `With this decision, Turkey deliberately strikes at the coexistence of Christian-Islamic mutual respect and trust.'"
https://news.am/eng/news/590626.html

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B17. HADDING SCOTT, National socialist worldview; tr. (2012) of: Gottfried Feder: `The manifesto for the abolition of interest slavery'.

`There are basically no Christians in Turkey anyway. Greece and Turkey did a population swap about a century ago where each gave its religious non-conformists to the other.
What good is a church in that location? Unless there will be a reconquest, not much.
To try to prevent the Hagia Sophia from being used as a mosque would be like trying to prevent the City of Charlottesville from painting the statue of Robert E. Lee and renaming it Roscoe Brown.' 13 Jul. 2020.
https://twitter.com/HaddingScott/status/1282628516174090243
http://national-socialist-worldview.blogspot.com

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B18. VICTOR NADEIN-RAEVSKIY, the Institute of World economy and International relations {IMEMO}, the RUSSIAN ACADEMY OF SCIENCES.

`All Christians worldwide should respond to Erdoğan’s decision to turn Hagia Sophia into a mosque.

To the Turkish government’s decision to carry out Muslim rites in the UNESCO World Heritage monument must respond not only Greece, but also all countries in the world.

First of all, the Eastern Orthodox countries of the world should take necessary steps, as the Hagia Sophia historically belonged to the Eastern Orthodox Church. Of course, the Vatican should show solidarity. In addition, the condemnation of Erdoğan’s decision by the two rival Christian confessions for many years is a good occasion to bring together these churches.

The Turkish leader’s step is part of his policy of Islamisation of the country aimed at strengthening his dictatorship. Thus, Erdoğan actually returns the country to the Ottoman past.

There can’t be talks on Turkey’s accession into the E. U. after such actions. Turkey does not correspond to the European requirements. This country increasingly backs to the mediaeval past, and this relates to the governance and many other issues.' 8 Jun. 2016.
https://rusarminfo.ru/2016/06/08/opinion-all-christians-worldwide-should-respond-to-erdogans-decision-to-turn-hagia-sophia-into-a-mosque/

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B19. KONSTANTIN KOSACHEV, Chairman, Foreign Affairs committee, Upper Chamber of the RUSSIAN PARLIAMENT. SERGEI VERSHININ, Deputy Foreign minister of RUSSIA.

`The cathedral will again be used as a mosque, and, certainly, this will trigger an extremely negative response throughout the entire Christian world. Hagia Sophia was an important holy place for global Christianity, directly related to its history. Therefore, the assumption that the fate of an architectural monument is an internal affair of a country that houses it is not applicable in this case. Domestic policy matters were predominant in this case, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was seeking to gain support among political forces that favour the Islamisation of Turkey. Talks of an early parliamentary election continue to circulate, and changing the status of Hagia Sophia might play into the hands of the ruling forces. Here’s the explanation - but not a justification - to a fact that a unique historical building with Christian and Islamic decorations, which for many years served as a symbol of religious accord in Turkey and beyond, will lose its neutral status of a museum. I believe that from now on Ankara will be seen as a violator of religious balance in the eyes of the whole world and will lose its clout as an important regional player. Too bad.'
-- Konstantin Kosachev, Chairman, Foreign Affairs committee, Upper chamber of the Russian parliament, 10 Jul. 2020.
https://tass.com/world/1177267

"VLADIMIR DZHABAROV, deputy head of the foreign affairs committee in the Russian upper house of parliament, called the action `a mistake'.
`Turning it into a mosque will not do anything for the Muslim world. It does not bring nations together, but on the contrary brings them into collision', he said. 10 Jul. 2020.
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/07/world-reacts-turkey-reconverting-hagia-sophia-mosque-200710135637861.html

`You know that this issue has caused a public outcry in our country and beyond. In general, we consider this issue to be an internal affair of Turkey, in which neither we nor anyone else should intervene. At the same time, we highlight the importance of the building as a site that is part of world culture' -- Sergei Vershinin, Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia, 13 Jul. 2020.
https://orthodoxtimes.com/for-russia-hagia-sophia-is-an-internal-affair-of-turkey/

"Moscow regrets Ankara’s decision to convert Constantinople’s Hagia Sophia from a museum back into a mosque, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Monday. `We regret the decision of the Turkish Republic’s leadership on turning Hagia Sophia cathedral-museum into a mosque and resuming Muslim religious services there. The ruling on the museum status passed at the initiative of the founder of the modern Turkish state Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in 1934 for many decades turned Hagia Sophia into a symbol of peace and inter-religious accord and played an important role in strengthening the atmosphere of religious tolerance and dialogue between nations', the diplomat said. The Russian Foreign Ministry hopes that Hagia Sophia will be preserved as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. `We expect that any steps against this unique monument will take into account its unique importance for believers of the entire world', Zakharova said." 13 Jul. 2020.
https://tass.com/politics/1178125

"VLADIMIR V. PUTIN had a telephone conversation with President of the Republic of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at the Turkish side’s initiative.
Vladimir Putin drew the attention of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to the considerable public outcry in Russia over the decision to change the status of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople. The President of Turkey gave relevant explanations and noted that access to that unique monument of world civilisation would be guaranteed for all wishing to visit it, including foreign nationals, and the safety of the items sacred to Christians would be assured.
The heads of state agreed to maintain regular dialogue, including at the top level." 13 Jul. 2020.
http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/63651

"Russia’s official position on the Hagia Sophia status change is that it is Turkey’s internal matter, but Moscow believes the decision will benefit tourists, the Kremlin’s spokesperson said on Friday. In an interview with local broadcaster Avtoradio, DMITRY PESKOV said people will now be able to visit the historical site for free, as opposed to buying `quite expensive tickets' when it was a museum. `Our Turkish partners explained that everything will be preserved in the best possible way, and everyone will be able to visit Hagia Sophia. Moreover, I will tell you, there were quite expensive tickets to Hagia Sophia', Peskov said. `And now there will be no tickets, the entrance will be free. In this regard, our tourists will benefit.'
He said the Russian government respects the position of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia on the matter, which is different from the state’s position.
The Kremlin spokesman said he does not expect the Hagia Sophia issue to affect ties between Russia and Turkey. He praised the relationship between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, saying the two leaders share a similar style of working. `They meet, and both are responsible for their words, and both are in control of the situation, and both are able to make responsible and quick decisions, which they do', Peskov said. He said such an approach was key to finding solutions to difficult problems, `as it was in the Syrian issues and in other situations'." 17 Jul. 2020.
https://www.aa.com.tr/en/politics/hagia-sophia-status-change-benefits-tourists-russia/1913966

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B20. ALEXANDER SCHALLENBERG, Foreign minister, VIENNA, AUSTRIA {ÖSTERREICH/ÖSTMARK}.

`Die türkischen Provokationen-- von Libyen bis Nordirak & zuletzt die Umwidmung der #HagiaSophia-- beweisen, dass die Türkei einfach kein verlässlicher Partner Europas ist. Diese Entwicklungen sollten uns in Europa zum Umdenken bewegen!'
{`The Turkish provocations-- from Libya to Northern Iraq & recently the reclassification of #HagiaSophia-- prove that Turkey is simply not a reliable partner for Europe. These developments should make us rethink Europe!'}
https://twitter.com/MFA_Austria/status/1282612459094908928

"Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg had recently denounced the conversion of Hagia Sophia from a museum into a mosque and had said that it was the `latest link in a chain of provocations'. He also referred to the recent political developments in Libya and Northern Iraq and noted that Turkey was not `a reliable partner of Europe'.
In addition, he highlighted that the European Union must pursue `a strong policy towards Turkey and speak clearly on a firm basis of values'. At the same time, he reiterated its call for an end to Turkey’s EU accession negotiations. Finally, he stressed that `the EU should be clear and declare that such things would no longer be permissible and right'." 10 Jul. 2020.
https://orthodoxtimes.com/austria-turkey-is-not-reliable-partner-of-europe/



Centenary: Kandathil Thommen Warkey

 Kandathil Thommen Warkey {കണ്ടത്തില്‍ തൊമ്മന്‍ വര്‍ക്കി} (* 1844 - † 4 Nov. 1920) Advocatus at the Court of Vaikom. Chempu, Vaikom.