July 11, 2020
The Middle East Christian Committee (MECHRIC), representing Middle East Christians around the world, vehemently opposes Turkey’s High Court ruling that turns the beautiful, ancient church and internationally recognized landmark, the Hagia Sophia, from museum (and symbol of peaceful religious co-existence) back into a working mosque.
“This is a clear victory for the hard-line Islamists of Turkey,” said MECHRIC executive board member, John Hajjar. “They are insulting every Christian the world over and every person concerned with preserving the 1,483 year-old structure.”
“This building is the heritage of the entire world,” added Chairman of the American Maronite Union, Tom Harb. “By making it into a working mosque, Erdogan is in effect saying that it belongs to Muslims Christians and other tourists will be forbidden to enter or put under restrictions instead of being allowed to marvel at this ancient architectural wonder. So what was formerly an area of peaceful cooperation, has been openly spurned. This does not bode well for world peace.”
Joseph Saouk, European coordinator for MECHRIC condemned the conversion of Haghia Sophia into a working mosque arguing that this is a setback to religious pluralism. “We know a majority of Muslims worldwide oppose what Erdogan and the Muslim Brotherhood are doing to destroy the growing positive relationship between Muslims and Christians worldwide, especially among the youth.”
“There is a link between what Erdogan is doing in Istanbul and what his allies in the Muslim Brotherhood front group, the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), are doing to try to topple the statue of Saint Louis in the United States,” added Mr. Hajjar. “It is an all-out Christian-phobia campaign waged by the extremist Ikhwan.”