On Friday 24 July 2020, Friday prayer was resumed in the Hagia Sophia (Ayasofia) Mosque. Originally, it was built to be a place of worship (monastery).

Historically, the first religious services in the “new” Hagia Sophia were held on December 27, 537. At the time, Emperor Justinian is reported to have said, “My Lord, thank you for giving me the chance to create such a worshipping place.”

After conquering Istanbul in 1453 CE, the Sultan Mehmet Fatih, bought the Ayaofia Monastery from its rightful owners in cash, and converted it into a mosque. With this conversion, Ayasofia became a permanent mosque and waqf (perpetual trust) property.

He could have declared it as a mosque by force. This is what the victors generally do anyway! This is exactly what happened to many mosques in in Muslim Spain when it was re-conquered (history of Reconquista) by the Christian rulers in 11-12 centuries CE.

Ayasofia mosque was never open to be converted into a museum. It was thus, a grave mistake for the then secular Turkish Council of Ministers in 1935, to convert it to a museum.

By reverting it to its original intended, Raceb Tayib Erdogan, the current President of Turkey,  has done the right thing.

Prophet Issa (a) and his Mother, the Virgin Marry, are the most revered figures and respecting them is a significant part of the Islamic faith. As their symbol thus, by keeping it as a mosque and in the hands of Muslims, Ayasofia is also at the safest hands of right custodians!

Today’s use Ayasofia is not only as a mosque, but also as a significant place of history. Similar to a museum thus, it will remain open for all visitors, regardless of their faith or orientation.

This is what happens anyway, to Sultan Qanuni Mosque and many other mosques in Istanbul.

The negative reaction from the Greek and Russian Orthodox Churches is very much unwarranted and misplaced. Given the above, the global Christians community or peoples of interest for the historic places, has nothing to be worried about!