The Ekklesia website reports today (October 25, 2010) that a Turkish government adviser says Christians and Muslims should be allowed to worship again in Istanbul's Hagia Sophia basilica, eight decades after it was turned into a museum by the country's secularist authorities.
"Hagia Sofia was built as a place of worship. It served people this way as a church and mosque for more than a thousand years," said Mehmet Akif Ayd'n, an expert with the Presidency of Religious Affairs, which monitors religious sites in Turkey, including more than 80,000 mosques.
"As a Muslim, I'd like it to become a mosque. But if Hagia Sofia were opened to Muslim worshipers on weekdays, it should also be opened to Christians on Sundays," Ayd'n said.
The religious expert was commenting on calls for the sixth century landmark to be reopened for religious events.