The mufti of a northern Greek town, has requested for Hagia Sophia to remain as a museum and not be converted into a mosque.
Khalil Jihad, the Mufti of Komotini, urged respect for all religious sites, calling the conversion of Hagia Sophia a “provocative decision” by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Jihad suggested that Hagia Sophia should not become a mosque because that would put Christians and Muslims “in a difficult situation,” and that he preferred it remained a museum as “this would be good for human life, at this time in this situation.”
“Let us all have respect for the temples of worship. As the name suggests, Hagia Sophia is a Christian church. Of course, there were Orthodox Christians and when it was converted into a mosque during the Ottoman Empire until that date, that was it. And beyond that, when it was turned into a museum at that time, the political authorities decided this and that,” he said.
“It appears from its name that it is a Christian church, a holy temple for Christians,” he continued. “There are so many mosques named after Islamic names, Muslim names. With this name being converted into a mosque and that is- Hagia Sophia mosque, this is a bit strange.”
“As did Caliph Omar, I from my position as a religious scholar, suggested that this not be done so as not to put both Christians and Muslims in a difficult situation. Neutrality is now a museum. Let Muslims and (Orthodox) Christians and Catholics pay a visit, let all humanity visit and that is enough.”
“If a Muslim wants to go to a mosque to pray, there is another mosque nearby. And for a Christian if he wants to do the service he can find a place of worship in Constantinople and elsewhere. From the name Hagia Sophia, it seems to be for Christian Orthodox and then it was turned into a museum. Now stay in this state. I prefer that and that would be good for human life, right now in this situation.”