Muslim activists want to pray in the Hagia Sophia

A group of Turkish Muslim activists today asked the government of conservative Islamic Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan to make the Hagia Sophia a place for Islamic prayer again, as happened after it was conquered in 1453 by Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II.

Originally built as a Christian church, the Hagia Sophia was converted to a mosque by the Ottoman regime in 1453. The basilica was used as a mosque until 1935, when the founder of the modern secular Republic of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal ‘Ataturk’, transformed it into a museum. The activists of the religious group the Young People of Anatolia, press agency Dogan reports, held a press conference this morning outside the basilica. They asked for Muslims to be allowed to pray again in the Hagia Sophia and announced that they will hold a Friday prayer on the square outside the most famous building in Istanbul.

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