The great Christian basilica from the ex-capital of the Ottoman empire is to be transformed into a mosque
Mosaic of Christ in Santa Sofia
There is fear that following the transformation into a mosque of the church of Santa Sofia in Nicea (where the ecumenical council of 787 took place) that had previously been restored, turned into a museum, and now in the last few days, under the orders of central government, has become a place for Islamic worship; now it is Santa Sofia of Istanbul’s turn. The great Christian basilica from the ex-capital of the Ottoman empire is to be transformed into a mosque.
The news, or rather the hypothesis, comes from Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, where a few days ago, the newspaper “Sabah” dedicated an article to the situation, stating that Santa Sofia could be used again as a place for Islamic worship, overturning the decision made by Turkey under Kemal Ataturk. The newspaper reported that there are building works underway to bring it about. Amongst the restoration work there are plans to construct a “mimbar”, the pulpit or raised platform from which the Imam guides the prayer and gives the Friday sermon, the most important moment of prayer in the Muslim week. What could a mimbar be used for if not for the “active” Islamic use of the ex-cathedral?
There are also those who note that during a visit to Santa Sofia a while ago, the vice prime minister Bulent Arinc had said that the building would undergo fundamental modifications. Today Bulent Arinc is the person who remains the most involved in the debate. Bulent Arinc is perhaps the most prominent politician in the current Islamic conformism that exists in the governing party. A few days ago Arinc said during the inauguration in Nicea (Iznik in Turkish): “With this act we have regained the favour of our ancestors. The Church of Santa Sofia of Izmit is the result of conquest and as such, as was customary then, it constitutes a right. A church can be transformed into a mosque. Both are places to pray to God.” And Bulent Arinc concluded: “How many of our mosques have been transformed into churches?”