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Words Are Not Enough. Do Your Duty for Aghia Sophia!

Αssociated Press

A Muslim cleric recites the "prayer conquest" from the Quran, Islam s holy book, inside Istanbul s 6th-century Hagia Sophia's the main cathedral of the Byzantine Empire which was converted into a mosque with the Ottoman conquest of the city, then known as Constantinople, in 1453, in Istanbul, Friday, May 29, 2020. (AP Photo)

The issue of the conversion of Aghia Sophia into a mosque is an issue that almost everyone, Christians and non-Christians alike, can understand and agree on.

We just need to give them some information and help them understand how much we care.

The following text serves this purpose. As a sample letter, e-mail, etc., it is a tool to inform and to show your great interest to the politicians of your region, but also to the political leadership of the country, including the President and the presidential candidate of the Democratic Party.

I hereby appeal to everyone to help through their mass participation. Politicians attach great importance to the interests expressed by their constituents. 

Do it now. Let not a single day be lost.

Thank you.

Dear Senator/Representative Last Name,

I am writing to you to express my great concern regarding Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s decision to convert the Hagia Sophia into a working mosque and to urge you to denounce his actions.

Background:

After 86 years, Turkey’s Council of State annulled the 1935 decision to convert Hagia Sophia into a museum, and President Erdogan signed a decree converting it into a working mosque. The first Islamic prayers are said to be held there starting on July 24 2020.

Built almost 1,500 years ago, the location was originally a Christian Cathedral before being converted into a mosque in 1453 following the Ottoman conquest of the city. In 1935, the Hagia Sophia became a museum under former Turkish President Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, and later a UNESCO World Heritage site. It has since been considered a bridge between the two faiths and a strong symbol of coexistence.

On July 1, Secretary Pompeo issued a statement urging the Turkish government to maintain the status of Hagia Sophia as a museum. He stated, “It is critical that this site remain accessible to people of all faiths and that its history is preserved. I urge the Government of Turkey to support Hagia Sophia's preservation in a manner that respects religious pluralism and its rich history.”

Analysis:

President Erdogan’s decision to undo Hagia Sophia’s status as a museum is unconscionable and demonstrates his indifference to the many faiths and backgrounds of millions of individuals around the world. It has planted a seed to further sow division in an already tense region. His decision brutally insults the historical memory of a world cultural symbol.

Conclusion:

While the Hagia Sophia may be on Turkish soil, it belongs to the world as a place of deep spiritual significance for people of diverse backgrounds. The conversion of its status is unnecessarily divisive – especially now as our shared world currently faces an unprecedented global health crisis. This is the time for people of all faiths to be unified; this is the time to build bridges between Islam and Christianity.

I, along with Christians and non-Christians alike, believe that the Hagia Sophia should remain a UNESCO World Heritage site representing a peaceful coexistence and respect among religions. It is a gift to humankind and its value is universal. The Hagia Sophia’s status as a religiously neutral museum for people of all faiths and cultures to visit must be preserved.

I urge you to use your voice and to join the worldwide chorus of those who are outraged at this significant religious and cultural loss, not just for Orthodox Christians, but for humankind.

 Respectfully submitted,

 First Name Last Name