Following a court verdict by a top Turkish court in July, Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia museum immediately reconverted to a mosque. The building had served as a mosque until 1934 and then closed to worshippers by the founder of secular regime in Turkey.
Speaking in a TV program on Saturday night, Ali Akbar Velayati reacted to the recent comments by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who claimed that Hagia Sophia should be turned into a museum again.
Velayati said, “Doesn’t he have another order?! Their ancestors turned all the museums in the world into churches and built everything they could since Andalusia battle.”
“The mosque, which is 500 years old, will remain a mosque until the Day of Judgment.
“I traveled to Turkey for a while, prayed in one of the mosques of this country and saw that, despite all the propaganda by the laics, the mosques were filled during prayers and even people lined up in the streets.”
“The Turkish people adhere to the true Islam and respect the Shia scholars,” Velayati added.
He further said, “Hagia Sophia is one of the most important mosques in Turkey and its history dates back to 857 AH when it was conquered by Mehmed II.”
Velayati said, “After this move, the whole Christian world erupted, criticizing the conversion of the Hagia Sophia Museum into a mosque and said that if this is the case, all museums should be turned into mosques and churches before 1942.”
“In an article published a few days ago, it was also said that Mehmed II bought this place from a priest and turned it into a mosque,” he said.
This is while, he stressed, “Many of the architectures inside the mosque show that it is Islamic rather than Christian.”
Velayati said, “The first violent treatment of Muslims by Europeans took place during the Crusades.
“Once Turkish PM gave a speech in Turkey on the occasion of Ashura [martyrdom of Imam Hossein] and recited a famous hadith from Imam Hassan and Hussein [grandsons of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)]; This shows the interest of the Turkish people in Islam as well as the Shia,” Velayati said.
He added, “Until 1914, Turkey was the center of the Sunnis in the Islamic world, and after that, with the conspiracy of the British and the French, they tried to dismantle this important country.”
“However, the Shia’s refused to turn away from Islam in Turkey, and after the Hagia Sophia became a mosque, all the mosques and even the surrounding streets were filled.”
“As the secretary of the World Assembly of Islamic Awakening, I recently issued a statement. In this statement, we emphasized that the move by the president of Turkey in turning the Hagia Sophia Museum into a mosque is very important work and is in line with the will of the people of this country,” Velayati said.
“The Turkish people sought such an action, and we congratulate the Turkish nation on this important Islamic achievement,” he concluded.