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Hagia Sophia opens as mosque after 86 years as Saudi Arabia accuses Erdogan of misreading the history

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Message Abdus-Sattar Ghazali
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Turkey's iconic Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque reopened for worship on Friday for the first time in 86 years as Saudi Arabia accused Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of misreading the history.

"Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque is a cultural heritage of humanity as a whole. It was a mosque and was reverted back into a mosque," Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said following the prayers.

However, the Saudi official mouthpiece the Arab News carried a number of articles to belittle the significance of reopening of Hagia Sophia as mosque as political analysts suggest that the Turkish President Erdogan is vying for Muslim world's leadership.

An article - Erdogan's misreading of Hagia Sophia's history - by Hussain Abdul Hussain, a former visiting fellow at Chatham House, a London-based biased think tank, says: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is trying hard to impose a history where the Turks are imagined as the leaders of Islam and the rulers of the world. Converting Hagia Sophia into a mosque is part of Erdogan's dream of imperial dominance in the name of Islam.

Following the prayers, Pesident Erdoğan and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Chairman Devlet Bahçeli visited the tomb of Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II, the conqueror of Istanbul.

Tellingly, Hagia Sophia opened as mosque on July 24 that is the 97th anniversary of the Treaty of Lausanne which Erdogan seeks to revisit. The treaty outlined the boundaries of the modern Turkish state after the demise of the Ottoman Empire.

Erdogan's misreading of Hagia Sophia's history

Not surprisingly, the Saudi official mouthpiece the Arab News carried a number of articles to belittle the significance of reopening of Hagia Sophia as mosque as political analysts suggest that the Turkish President Erdogan is vying for Muslim world's leadership.

An article - Erdogan's misreading of Hagia Sophia's history - by Hussain Abdul Hussain, a former visiting fellow at Chatham House, a London-based biased think tank, says: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is trying hard to impose a history where the Turks are imagined as the leaders of Islam and the rulers of the world. Converting Hagia Sophia into a mosque is part of Erdogan's dream of imperial dominance in the name of Islam.

Hussain argued Erdogan seems unaware that unlike Islam's divine shrines in Makkah, Madinah and, to a lesser extent, Jerusalem Hagia Sophia has no significance in Islam whatsoever. To Christians, however, Hagia Sophia has immense religious value. In fact, Ottoman conquerors turned it into the sultan's mosque as a proclamation that a new sheriff was in town, but otherwise did not even bother to Islamize its Christian name.

At the same time the Arab News published a series of articles by Prof. Talal Al-Torifi is a Saudi academic and media specialist bitterly criticizing the Ottoman Empire: (1). Turks' pre-Ottoman history based on myth and imagination; (2). Turkey repeating Ottoman Empire's crimes against Arabs; (3). Turkish propaganda ignores Ottoman violations of Two Holy Mosques; (4) Turks defrauding history with Ottoman monuments narrative.

Series of Arab News articles against Turkey

Prof. Talal Al-Torifi argues: The Turks, in general, are now adopting a deceptive policy, which is that they cry over Islam and the sultanate, but they are in fact crying for their pride and power and presenting it in the name and protection of Islam for propaganda purposes. Not surprisingly, Prof. Talal Al-Torifi conveniently ignored the well-documented history of Arab collusion with Britain to revolt against the Turks.

To borrow Mark Curtis, the author of Secret Affairs: Britain's Collusion with Radical Islam:

Britain had already provided arms and money to Ibn Saud during the First World War, signing a treaty with him in 1915 and recognizing him as the ruler of the Nejd province under British protection. By the end of the war, he was receiving a British subsidy of £5,000 a month - considerably less than the £12,000 a month doled out to Hussein (Sharif of Mecca), whom the British government at first continued to favor.

Ibn Saud established 'Saudi' Arabia in an orgy of murder. ". The conquest of Arabia cost the lives of around 400,000 people, since Saud's forces did not take prisoners; over a million people fled to neighbouring countries. Numerous rebellions against the House of Saud subsequently took place, each put down in 'mass killings of mostly innocent victims, including women and children'. By the mid-1920s most of Arabia had been subdued, 40,000 people had been publicly executed and some 350,000 had had limbs amputated; the territory was divided into districts under the control of Saud's relatives, a situation which largely prevails today.

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Author and journalist. Author of Islamic Pakistan: Illusions & Reality; Islam in the Post-Cold War Era; Islam & Modernism; Islam & Muslims in the Post-9/11 America. Currently working as free lance journalist. Executive Editor of American (more...)
 
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