Representatives of the Senate Committee of the US Congress opposed the decision of the Turkish authorities to turn the Hagia Sophia into a mosque.
“We strongly condemn the decision of Turkish President Erdogan to turn Hagia Sophia from a museum into a mosque. At certain points in its history, Hagia Sophia has served as a place of worship for Muslims and Christians, and for decades has been an extraordinary and welcoming center for people of all faiths, the statement said.
It was signed by the Chairman and senior Democrat of the US Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, Jim Risch (Republican of Idaho), and Robert Menendez (from New Jersey).
They called the actions of the Turkish President “a deep insult to Christians all over the world,” as the faithful perceive the Cathedral as a deeply revered Holy place and look at it as the light of truth.
Representatives of the Committee stressed that more efforts are needed to establish mutual understanding between Islam and Christianity, and Erdogan’s actions lead to unnecessary discrepancies. They called on the Turkish leader to reverse his decision and preserve the temple as a religiously neutral Museum. This will allow people of all faiths and cultures to visit the sacred site.
Earlier, the Turkish leader signed a decree on turning the Hagia Sophia into a mosque. Erdogan posted a photo of his order on Twitter. The State Council of Turkey canceled the government decree of 1935, which gave the Cathedral the status of a Museum.