Holy wisdom

Desecularization in Istanbul:

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has ordered the Hagia Sophia museum, one of Istanbul’s most famous landmarks, to be converted into a mosque.

He made the announcement Friday, hours after a top court cleared the way for him to make the change.

The Hagia Sophia, a major draw for tourists, has a long and complicated history. The architectural marvel was built as a church by the Byzantines in the 6th century and then converted to a mosque after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453.

In 1934, Turkish leader Mustafa Kemal Ataturk’s cabinet decreed that it be turned into a museum. It is widely regarded as a symbol of peaceful religious coexistence.

But we don’t want peaceful religious coexistence, we want holy war!

Friday’s court ruling invalidates the 1934 decree. It grants Turkey’s president the authority to restore the museum to its status as a working mosque. The decision said the site is listed as a mosque in its title deed and that cannot be changed, Turkey’s Anadolu news agency reported.

Sure it can, just invent another message from the god.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said this month that converting the Hagia Sophia would limit “its unsurpassed ability — so rare in the modern world — to serve humanity as a much-needed bridge between those of differing faith traditions and cultures.”

This is one time I agree with Mike Pompeo. The Hagia Sophia was a church for nine centuries and a mosque for five, and making it a museum for everyone seems like a good peace treaty.

Elizabeth Prodromou, a professor focused on geopolitics and religion atThe Fletcher School at Tufts University, said the Hagia Sophia decision was a “tragedy, quite candidly, although it’s not surprising.”

The Hagia Sophia, she said, “has been a lightning rod for a synthesis of religio-nationalism and instrumentalized as a symbol by the Erdogan government.”

“It’s just another example of the long pattern now of Turkey’s turn away from its commitments as a member of the NATO Western alliance, and its commitment to the norms that are associated with democracy,” Prodromou added.

That’s why Trump likes him.

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