Hagia Sophia and Hindu temples : victims of Islamist imperialism

Yesterday, Turkey’s Islamist President Erdogan announced that Hagia Sofia has been converted into a mosque. It was announced after a court ruling allowed the conversion of the site. In this post we will see a comparison of Hagia Sophia and Hindu temples and how Islamists behave as per their convenience in claiming sites.

Brief History of Hagia Sophia

The Church of Hagia Sofia{Church of Holy Wisdom}, was built by Byzantine Emperor Justinian in 537 AD. A great feat in engineering at that time, it is the epitome of Byzantine architecture.

Hagia Sophia
Hagia Sophia

When the Ottomans conquered Constantinople in 1453, it was converted into a mosque. The bells, altar, iconostasis, and other relics were destroyed and the mosaics depicting Jesus, his mother Mary, Christian saints, and angels were eventually destroyed or plastered over. They also added the minarets for azaan.

After the secularists under Mustafa Kemal Pasha captured power, it was converted into a museum in 1935. It was one of Turkey’s most visited tourist sites. Yesterday, it was again converted into a mosque.

Arguments of Islamists

Despite angry statements from Orthodox Church authorities of Russia and Greece and disapproval from UNESCO, Islamists have argued that they are correct in this step. Their arguments are:-

  • After 1453, till about 480 years, the place functioned as a mosque. Once a place is mosque, it cannot be used for anything else. Converting it in Museum was a mistake and it has been rectified.
  • After conquest, the site became a personal property of Ottoman Emperor. After the revolution in 20th century, he gave it to a waqf to be used as a mosque. Thus legally, the claim of Muslims is tenable.
  • Turkey is a sovereign nation and by converting the character of Hagia Sofia, it is exercising its sovereign right.
  • The population of Turkey is majority Muslim, and there are negligible Christians there. So mosque would serve the purpose of majority, while a Church is of no use to any Christian

Hagia Sophia and Hindu Temples

Hagia Sophia is not the sole victim of Islamist imperialism. Thousands of Hindu temples in Indian subcontinent were destroyed by Islamic invaders in the period between years 712 to 1760s.

Hagia Sophia and hindu temples

After that, wholesale destruction of temples was stopped by Marathas and English, but sporadic incidents continue in Bangladesh and Pakistan. we have recently seen how under construction Hindu Temple in Islamabad was defiled by Muslims and Hindus threatened with genocide just last week.

Unfortunately, Marxist historians have avoided discussion on this. Readers can read “Hindu Temples – What Happened to Them” by Sita Ram Goel, Arun Shourie, Harsh Narain, Jay Dubashi and Ram Swarup which details 2000+ temples, converted into mosques, with inscriptions and quotes from books of Muslim historians. By writers’ admission, it is just “tip of the iceberg” and thousands of more temples remain buried under mosques.

Indeed, barring a few exceptions, in the whole plains of UP and Bihar, there is not a single temple building older than 300 years, while in Tamilnadu, Kerala, Andhra, and Karnataka thousands of villages have thousand year old temples. The credit goes to Vijayanagar Empire which protected and rebuilt many temples after conquering these lands. Read this piece detailing how they saved Meenakshi temple from Madurai Sultan.

The most famous and venerated places of Hindus in north India were repurposed as Mosques. It includes sites of Kashi Vishvanath and Mathura Krishna Janmbhumi. Ram Janmbhumi was also destroyed, and Babri Masjid erected over it. They defiled Meenakshi-Sundereshwar temple in Madurai and Jagannath in Puri too. In a moment of rare determination, Hindus took back Ram Janmbhumi and a temple is being constructed there now.

Thus, the Imperialist character of Islamists has always been the same. They captured places of worship of other religions everywhere they went. The purpose was to proclaim the supremacy of Islam. It can be seen in the name of Quwwat-ul-Islam{Power of Islam} mosque in the Qutub Minar complex. It was built after destruction of 27 Jain and Hindu temples. One can see the murtis there even today!

In Hagia Sophia, they claim ownership as they are majority and simply can. In Kashi and Mathura then, Hindus are not only in majority, we also have a far better claim on the sites on the basis of history and religion.

Conclusion

The history of Islam starts with capturing Kabba and removing the Murtis from the temple to convert it into an Islamic site. They banned all non-Muslims from entering Mecca and the ban stays till date.

This pattern of capturing and converting sites of other religions to Muslim sites has remained a key feature of Muslim conquest everywhere. Hagia Sophia and Hindu temples have been victims of this imperialism.

In India, the holiest sites of Hindus, Kashi and Mathura are under occupation of Muslims. Even a casual visitor can see that these are built atop destroyed temples. After destruction of the Babri Masjid standing on Ramjanmbhumi, government banned changing the character of religious buildings by making an act. That act has been challenged before the courts.

It is time that Islamism be given a befitting reply. In our generosity, we had offered that Muslims hand over only Ayodhya, Mathura and Kashi sites to Hindus. Hindus everywhere should now make efforts to reclaim the ‘lost temples’. All documented temples converted into mosques should be demanded back. After all, Islamists cannot have it both ways! They cannot say “We conquered Hagia Sophia and Hindu temples, thus we own them” and then cry victimhood when Hindus recover their places of worship by force!

Update:- On suggestion of True Indology{@TIinExile on Twitter}, I have made a small change in the article. There may be a few temples older than 300 years in UP and Bihar. TI has given example of Mundeswari Temple of Kaimur, Bihar. Please see the tweet below:-

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Pawan
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