The imam of Milan and president of the Italian Islamic Religious Community, Yahya Pallavicini, has explicitly taken a stance against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s decision to turn Hagia Sophia into a mosque.
“In the history of Islam, when our sages visited a synagogue, a monastery, a cemetery, they always respected the identity of these places,” Palavicini said.
In his view, the Hagia Sophia should continue to be just a basilica because “places of worship must be used precisely for the purpose for which they were established.”
“There are so many beautiful mosques in Constantinople that Muslims can pray in, there was no need for one more. I believe that this decision is the result of political calculations,” said the Imam of Milan, who said that he understands the grief expressed by Pope Francis last Sunday.