Africa Hagia Sophia Decision from African Perspective
By: Inonu University
In the eleventh of the African-themed webinar series organized by Inonu University Center for African Studies (INUAFAM), the decision to open Hagia Sophia as a mosque from an African perspective was discussed. The program, in which Inonu University Rector Prof. Dr. Ahmet Kizilay and academicians, journalists, and politicians from 6 different countries of Africa participated as speakers, was held in Arabic and English. The moderator of the program was Dr. Sabri Turkmen Professor of the Theology Faculty.
The program, which was broadcast live on INUAFAM’s Youtube channel, was attended by religious history expert from Mauritania, Hamad bin Khalifa University faculty member in Qatar, Al Jazeera commentator Prof. Dr. Muhammad Mukhtar El-Shinqiti; vice-rector of the International University of Africa in Sudan, and director of the Research Center Turkey Dr. Muhammed Usman Abdullah; consultant of National Ulama Institutions and General Director of Awqaf foundation academician Dr. Mickael Collier; Hikma Foundation General coordinator Muhammed Musa Dirie from Somalia; advisor Harari Council and former assembly president Yasin Hussein Sherif from Ethiopia, and Askia Nasir Kabara, faculty member of Kano University from Nigeria and head of Shaikh Nasir Kabara Research Center.
The program started with the presentation of INUAFAM director Dr. Ismail Söylemez. Firstly he thanked rector Ahmet Kizilay and the speakers for their participation and stated that this program demonstrated the meaninglessness of borders and distances. Söylemez also said that these programs further consolidated between Turkey-African brotherhood and represent the beauty of being a Muslim. In addition, he expressed his condolences to Dr. Anwah Nagia, the founder of the Palestine Museum, one of the important names of South African Muslims who passed away during the week.
“We would like to thank once again to those who helped open Hagia Sophia as a mosque by preserving the common cultural heritage of humanity”
Making the opening speech of the program, Rector Prof. Dr. Ahmet Kizilay stated that Hagia Sophia Mosque is an important place for first of all Turkey, then to the Islamic world and for all humanity. Rector Prof. Dr. Ahmet Kızılay emphasized that certain places hold symbolic value in terms of civilizations and underlined that the Hagia Sophia Mosque, which has been serving as a museum for a long time and is now open to worship as a mosque, has an important symbolic value for Muslims. Mentioning that the decision of Hagia Sophia received a great interest in the entire Islamic world, Rector Prof. Dr. Ahmet Kızılay continued his words as follows: “Hagia Sophia started to serve as a mosque after 86 years, as stated by Fatih Sultan Mehmet Han in his endowment. We would like to thank those who helped open Hagia Sophia as a mosque by preserving the common cultural heritage of humanity. “
“Hagia Sophia started to serve its main purpose again with this decision”
Prof. Dr. Muhammad Mukhtar Shinqit stated that the emperor who ordered the construction of the architect of Hagia Sophia also had the understanding of unity, and noted that this decision taken by Turkey was likewise to serve this purpose. Shinqiti expressed that Hagia Sophia, which returned to the understanding of unity with Mehmet the Conqueror and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, started to serve his original purpose again with this decision.
Stating that with the Hagia Sophia decision, right and justice have been replaced and this place has taken on its Islamic identity again, Shinqiti continued, “Since Islam is a universal religion, it has become an important decision for Muslims in Africa, Asia, and other continents.”
“Hagia Sophia decision revived the Islamic feeling in the hearts”
Referring to Africa’s stance against the Hagia Sophia decision, Muhammed Musa Dirie announced that Hagia Sophia Mosque has a very important place in the Islamic world historically. Dirie explained that the decision of Hagia Sophia is a hope for the rise of Islamic civilization and that this decision has an important effect on the revival of the Islamic feeling in the hearts.
“The opening of Hagia Sophia to worship was welcomed in Africa with great joy”
Discussing the decision to open Hagia Sophia to worship in terms of Sudan, Assoc. Dr. Muhammed Usman Abdullah emphasized that this decision is a subject that is highly emphasized in Sudan and African media. Stating that Turkey’s performance was one of the most important historical events in recent years, Abdullah underlined that the Hagia Sophia decision was welcomed great especially in Sudan by everyone from young to adult.
“Sophia decision is not only for Turkey and Africa a development but also an important development for the entire Islamic world”
Askia Nasir Kabara mentioned that Muslim’s demand for open worship in Hagia Sophia to the public again is an important factor and the Republic of Turkey fulfills this responsibility successfully. In addition to this, he expressed that the Hagia Sophia Mosque has a historical and symbolic value for the Islamic world. Kabara, stressing that the West African region attaches great importance to the Hagia Sophia decision and this decision is not only for Turkey and Africa an important development but also for the Islamic world.
“Hagia Sophia decision is a decision that will shape today’s policies”
Dr. Mickael Collier started his speech by commemorating Dr. Anwah Nagia, one of the most important names of South African Muslims who died recently. Collier evaluated the results of the reopening of Hagia Sophia to worship and stated that this decision is a development that can guide today’s policies.
News: by Inonu University Corporate Communication Unit