One of the world's most famous landmarks, the Hagia Sophia museum in Istanbul, has been turned back into a mosque.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says the site will be open to Muslim worship on July 24, after a top court ruled the building's conversion to a museum in 1934 was illegal.

Built 1,500 years ago as an Orthodox Christian cathedral, Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque after the Ottoman conquest in 1453.

While Greek, Russian and other church leaders and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization have denounced the decision, Turkey's foreign ministry insists it is a "domestic issue of national sovereignty".

But is this an act of religious significance or political narrow-mindedness?

Presenter: Adrian Finighan


Ibrahim Kalin - spokesman for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Mehmet Celik - managing editor of Turkish newspaper the Daily Sabah

Mustafa Akyol - senior fellow at the Cato Institute and author of Islam Without Extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty

Source: Al Jazeera News