Muslim group prays in front of Hagia Sophia
A crowd offers the morning prayer in front of the Hagia Sophia museum. DHA photoA large group of people, who demand Istanbul’s monumental Hagia Sophia to be turned into a mosque again, gathered in front of the museum in the early hours of May 31, before offering their morning prayer there.
Anatolia Youth Association (AGD) had made a call for the event that came at a time when several radical groups have been discussing the status of the museum.
From 537, the year it was constructed, until 1453, when the Ottoman Empire conquered the city, Hagia Sophia served as an Eastern Orthodox cathedral and the seat of the Patriarchate of Constantinopole, It was turned into a mosque by the Ottomans before being secularized and converted to a museum in 1935.
The AGD made the call to mark the anniversary of the conquest.
Prominent imams, including Saudi Arabian reciter Shaykh Abdullah Basfar, were present at the event.
The crowd left the area after the prayer chanting slogans that say Hagia Sophia should be a mosque.