Turkey’s Hagia Sophia Museum Reconverted Into A Mosque

Erdogan has signed a presidential decree which hands over Hagia Sophia to Turkey's Presidency of Religious Affairs.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently announced that the world famous Hagia Sophia museum will be turned into a mosque, and open to Muslims for worship very soon.

This decision was made just an hour after a top administrative court annulled the site’s “museum status.” The court has pointed out that the cabinet’s decision to convert it from a mosque to a museum in 1934 “did not comply with laws” and have subsequently overturned this decision. They also reviewed a petition which was fighting for the right to be able to pray in the building, which up until now was prohibited.

Erdogan has signed a presidential decree which hands over Hagia Sophia to Turkey’s Presidency of Religious Affairs. 

The news of this transformation was met with overjoyed religious Muslim Turks outside the building and on the streets of Istanbul. It now means that people are no longer prohibited from praying inside the building, which has caused outrage over the years. The first prayer is set for July 24 2020.

Since it is one of Turkey’s most visited tourist attractions, with a staggering 3.8 million visitors last year in 2019, it will be open to visitors just like its neighbor the Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmed). 

This historic site, revered by both Christians and Muslims, marveled at by millions of tourists, and visited by world leaders has undergone many transformations throughout its lifetime. Where to begin?

The building was initially built as a church in Constantinople – modern day Istanbul – in the year 537 under the Byzantine emperor Constantius. 

It was then converted into a mosque in 1453 by the great conqueror of Constantinople and prominent leader of the Ottoman Empire: the young Mehmet II. 

Not too long ago it was converted into a museum in 1943 by the founder of Turkey: Ataturk, who adopted a more secular approach and believed the site would be better as a neutral monument without any religious affiliations. 

While the Muslims of Turkey rejoice over another beautiful mosque which will be used to worship Allah, Erdogan’s decision has also faced backlash from the international community. The Hagia Sophia is in fact a UNESCO World Heritage site, and hence the organization feels it should remain as a museum. 

Countries including the United States, Russia and Greece have publicly criticized Erdogan’s decision. However, in a recent public announcement, Erdogan said: “We of course welcome all ideas from the international community about this issue. However, the issue of deciding the purpose of the Hagia Sophia is about the sovereign rights of Turkey.”

READ MORE: 5 Verses On Justice In The Quran

Muhammad Muhaymin: Bodycam Footage Reveals Detailed Death By Police

“I can’t breathe,” said Muhaymin before he died in custody of the Phoenix police.

Muhammad Muhaymin: Bodycam Footage Reveals Detailed Death By Police

“I can’t breathe,” said Muhaymin before he died in custody of the Phoenix police.

By

Sara S. & Zainab Damji

Photo of Muhammad Muhaymin

MUSLIM.CO HAS PUT TOGETHER A PETITION TO SEEK JUSTICE FOR MUHAMMAD MUHAYMIN THAT CAN BE SIGNED HERE.

In the midst of a movement demanding change and reform, the Black community fights for justice once again as they are reminded of the loss of Muhammad Muhaymin Jr. 

Muhaymin died in custody of the Phoenix Police on January 4, 2017 after he tried to take his emotional support dog into a public restroom with him at a community center. Muhaymin is reported to have suffered from schizophrenia, anxiety and intermittent homelessness.

The manager present at the center prevented Muhaymin from entering the restroom and asked him to leave his dog outside, which resulted in an argument between the two. The manager then directed an employee to call 911, and in minutes  several Phoenix police officers arrived at the scene.

They attempted to alleviate the situation by allowing Muhaymin to use the restroom only to tackle him to the ground minutes later after a background check was done on Muhaymin and a warrant for his arrest was found on his record due to his failure to appear in court over a misdemeanor charge for possession of a marijuana pipe. 

Muhaymin was tackled to the ground outside the facility with four officers on top of him. 

Bodycam footage shows Muhaymin crying out “I can’t breathe” multiple times. 

Muhaymin was tackled to the ground outside the facility with four officers on top of him. In his last eight minutes before he took his final breath, body-cam footage shows Muhaymin crying out “Please Allah” and one of the officers who was trying to place him in cuffs responding, “Allah? He’s not going to help you now, just relax.”

Muhaymin’s shrieks and utterances became groans. His body went limp, and moments later, an officer can be heard saying “He’s dead.”

The circumstances of the deaths of George Floyd and Muhammad Muhaymin are similar. However, while the four officers involved in Floyd’s death were terminated and are now facing criminal charges, in Muhaymin’s case, none of the officers who responded to the call faced any discipline or consequences for their actions.

CNN reports that all of them remain on the force and one is now a detective.

Several petitions have been put together to demand justice for Muhammad Muhaymin including discipline and conviction of the officers involved. You can sign the petition for Muhammad Muhaymin here.