Forensic historian Eric Zuesse joins the Truth Jihad for a lively Eid debate on Islamic activism and the demise of US empire. First topic: Turkey’s decision to return Hagia Sophia to its status as a mosque. Though Eric and I agree that Erdogan’s (and the Turkish Supreme Court’s) decision was misguided, our reasons for holding that position are radically different. Responding to Eric’s article on the topic, I emailed him:
“I oppose unilaterally making Hagia Sophia a mosque on (Islamic) religious grounds, following Imran Hosein, but wasn’t impressed by your secular arguments especially the “Islamic dictatorship” part. I have Turkish friends who struggled for democracy against the culturally-genocidal secular dictatorship of Attaturk, and they helped me understand that in Turkey as in other Muslim-majority countries, a small wealthy secular comprador elite rules and exploits a poor pious Muslim majority. So democracy in those countries is always Islamic, and dictatorship is always secular. (The fake-Muslim satanic secularists running Saudi Arabia are only an apparent exception.) It’s no surprise that the only genuinely officially Islamic country in the region, Islamic Iran, is also the most democratic.”
Eric: “Iran is not entirely democratic, because it provides its clergy a veto-power over the Government’s decisions. That’s why its enemies call it a ‘theocracy.’ Furthermore: Iran is Shiite. Turkey is Sunni, which is far less democratic. Furthermore: Turkey’s Government declaring the Saint Sohia Cathedral to be instead a mosque is a dictatorial theocratic Sunni act. Even in Christian-majority dictatorships, other religions are allowed to have their own houses of worship, and the Saint Sophia Cathedral is an especially important Christian house of worship that’s located in the Islamic dictatorship of Turkey; so, if Turkey dishonors that Cathedral, then any Christian house of worship is under threat there.”
“There are holes in some of these arguments. There are plenty of churches functioning happily in almost all Muslim-majority countries including Turkey, and this has been the rule throughout history. Rarely has any Muslim authority seized or closed a church. That is impermissible under Islam. Whereas Western nations have routinely closed and bulldozed mosques, sometimes turning them into churches (the Grand Mosque of Cordoba is an outstanding example). Greece hosts dozens of shuttered and destroyed mosques and won’t let them reopoen. Likewise Spain. France won’t let Muslims build or buy enough mosques to suit their numbers. Etc. etc. So from a secular perspective, Turkey should only return Hagia Sophia to the Christians when Spain returns the Grand Mosque of Cordoba, among other mosques, to the Muslims. To argue otherwise exposes your bigotry and double-standards.
“Hagia Sophia was legally purchased and was a mosque for 500 years, until the 1930s, before it succumbed to Attaturk’s cultural genocide. The real reasons it should be a church are (a) the purchase was arguably under duress, and (b) Muslims need to unite with Eastern Christians to stop the spread of satanic secularism, and should bend over backward to repair relations with their Christian brethren.”
I should have added that the four “Sunni” law schools are no more or less democratic or theocratic than the Jafari (Shia) law school.
So who’s right? Listen and decide.