Turkey’s Erdogan to join hundreds of worshippers for prayers in Hagia Sophia after conversion


Turkey on Thursday appointed appointed three imams for Hagia Sophia, one of them a professor of non secular research, because the nation prepares for the primary Muslim prayers in the Istanbul landmark in 86 years following its conversion again right into a mosque.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is scheduled to join hundreds of worshipers Friday for prayers inside the previous Byzantine cathedral that turned a mosque with the 1453 Muslim conquest of Istanbul after which a museum in 1934 after Turkey turned a secular republic.

Erdogan issued a decree restoring the enduring sixth-century constructing as a mosque this month after a Turkish excessive court docket dominated that the Hagia Sophia had been illegally made right into a museum greater than eight a long time in the past. The transfer was met with dismay in Greece and the United States and from Christian church leaders.

On Thursday, the Turkish chief, joined by a big entourage, paid a shock go to to examine closing preparations on the construction, together with the disclosing of an indication on the entrance that reads: “The Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque.”

The head of Turkey’s non secular authority, Ali Erbas, on Thursday introduced the appointment of the three imams who will lead prayers on the reconverted mosque: Mehmet Boynukalin, a professor of Islamic legislation at Istanbul’s Marmara University, and Ferruh Mustuer and Bunjamin Topcuoglu, the imams of two different Istanbul mosques.

Erbas additionally named 5 muezzins — the officers who make the Muslim name for prayer — for Hagia Sophia, together with two from Istanbul’s famed Blue Mosque.

Authorities have designated segregated areas exterior of the Hagia Sophia for women and men wanting to join Friday’s inaugural prayers.

Several roads main to the constructing are being blocked. Authorities have mentioned as many as 17,000 safety personnel could be on obligation.


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