Foremost academicians, renowned journalists, and astute politicians from six African countries graced the 11th edition of Inonu University Center for African Studies (INUAFAM) lecture series, where they evaluated Turkey’s decision to open the iconic Hagia Sophia as a mosque.
The programme with the theme: ‘Hagia Sophia Decision from African Perspective’, was broadcast live on Wednesday, September 30, on the institution’s YouTube channel and saw thousands of audience from across the world in attendance.
Why we focused on Hagia Sophia: Dr. Söylemez
The event started with the presentation of INUAFAM Director, Assist. Prof., Dr. Ismail Söylemez, who extended his appreciation to the varsity’s Rector and the speakers for their participation, adding that the Webinar demonstrated the meaninglessness of borders and distances.
Söylemez also said that annual event, moderated by Professor of the Theology Faculty, Dr. Sabri Turkmen, further consolidated between Turkey-African brotherhood and represents the beauty of being Muslims.
— İnönü Üniversitesi Afrika Araştırmaları Merkezi (@inuafam) September 30, 2020
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,” he noted.
Hagia Sophia has an important symbolic value for Muslims: Prof. Kizilay
In his opening speech, Rector, Prof. Dr. Kizilay shared his perspectives at the momentous webinar where both Arabic and English were the approved languages of discussion.
He stated that the Hagia Sophia Mosque is an important place for first of all Turkey, then to the Islamic world and for all humanity.
INAUFAM Rector, 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 a symbolic value for Muslims.
Mentioning that the decision of Hagia Sophia received great interest in the entire Islamic world, Prof. 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. It started to serve its main purpose again with this decision.”
Hagia Sophia, best decision for the Muslim world – Prof Shintiq
Prof. Dr. Muhammad Mukhtar El-Shinqiti from Hamad bin Khalifah University, Qatar, 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.
The Al-Jazeera commentator said, “Hagia Sophia decision revived the Islamic feeling in the hearts.”
Hagia Sophia, hope for the rise of Islamic civilization: Dirie
Referring to Africa’s stance against the Hagia Sophia decision, the General Cordinator of
Hikma Foundation, Somalia, Muhammed Musa Dirie announced that the 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 of Muslims.
“The opening of Hagia Sophia to worship was welcomed in Africa with great joy,” he added.
Hagia Sophia, most important historical events: Dr. Abdullah
The Vice-Rector of the International African University in Sudan, Assoc. Dr. Muhammed Usman Abdullah emphasized that the decision to oepn Hagia Sophia as a mosque is a subject that is highly emphasized in Sudan and African media.
Abdullah, who also doubles as the Director of the Research Center in Turkey stated the move was one of the most important historical events in recent years, underlining that the Hagia Sophia decision was welcomed greatly, especially in Sudan by everyone from young to adult.
According to him, “Sophia decision is not only for Turkey and Africa but also an important development for the entire Islamic world.”
Hagia Sophia has symbolic value for the Islamic world, Kabara
The Faculty member of Kano State University from Nigeria, Askia Nasir Kabara mentioned that Muslims’ demand for opening worship in Hagia Sophia to the public again is an important factor and the Republic of Turkey fulfilled this responsibility successfully.
In addition to this, the Executive Director of Shaikh Nasir Kabara Research Center, Kano, Nigeria, 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,” he added.
Collier evaluates Hagia Sophia opening
The Consultant of National Ulama Institutions, Dr. Mickaeel Collier started his speech by commemorating Dr. Anwah Nagia, one of the most important names of South African Muslims who died recently.
The General Director of Awqaf Foundation from South-Africa, Collier, evaluated the results of the reopening of Hagia Sophia to worship, stating that it is a development that can guide today’s policies.
Two personalities – a religious history expert from Mauritania, Hamad bin Khalifa and an Advisor Harari Council and former assembly president, Ethiopia, Yasin Hussein Sherif also spoke at the event.
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