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Turkish Muslims Demand Historic Cathedral Become Mosque

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Christian Post — Thousands of Muslims in Turkey, preparing to celebrate the Ottoman conquest of the country 500 years ago, are demanding that authorities allow them to convert the Hagia Sophia museum into a mosque, despite laws forbidding worship at what was once the world’s most renowned Christian church.

Instanbul’s Hagia Sophia, which means “Holy Wisdom” in Greek, was completed in 537 by Emperor Justinian and considered the center of Orthodox Christianity for more than 900 years. It was converted in the mid-15th century into a mosque after conquest by the Ottomans and became a source of pride for the Muslim world.

On Saturday, local time, thousands of Muslims turned out to the historic site to protest Turkey’s 1934 law that makes it illegal for any religious group to hold services on its grounds. The Hagia Sophia was declared a museum that same year.

“Keeping Hagia Sophia Mosque closed is an insult to our mostly Muslim population of 75 million. It symbolizes our ill-treatment by the West,” said Salih Turhan, head of the Anatolian Youth Association.

Turhan said his group staged the protest, in the form of prayers, in light of the upcoming anniversary of the Ottoman Sultan Mehmet’s capture of Constantinople, according to Reuters.

“As the grandchildren of Mehmet the Conqueror, seeking the re-opening Hagia Sophia as a mosque is our legitimate right,” he told the news agency

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