Worshipers take part in first Muslim prayers at Hagia Sophia
Worshipers take part in first Muslim prayers at Hagia Sophia

Three imams were appointed for the Hagia Sophia, one of them a professor of religious studies, as on Thursday as the nation prepares for the first Muslim prayers in the Istanbul landmark in 86 years following its conversion back into a mosque.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan joined hundreds of worshipers on Friday for prayers inside the former Byzantine cathedral that became a mosque with the 1453 Muslim conquest of Istanbul and then a museum in 1934 after Turkey became a secular republic.

Erdogan issued a decree restoring the iconic sixth-century building as a mosque this month after a Turkish high court ruled that the Hagia Sophia had been illegally made into a museum more than eight decades ago.

The move was met with dismay in Greece and the United States and from Christian church leaders, as reported by Euronews.

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