Kosovo, Northern Cyprus and Minority Muslims
The multiculturalists laud Turkey for being secular, modern and democratic but they don’t bother to tell the truth about how this became. Likewise, the same wishful thinking elites in America and the United Kingdom negate to focus on dark forces within the current government of Prime Minister Erdogan. Therefore, the conversion, once more of the Hagia (Haghia) Sophia in Trabzon, which belongs to the Orthodox Christian world, is also a sign that Erdogan is intent on Islamizing the rich culture of Turkey and this also applies to the marginalization of Alevi Muslims and alienating secular Turks. Modern day Turkey followed on from the Ottoman Empire whereby both realities crushed the Orthodox Christian reality that they defeated based on different factors. In a sense it is true to say that modern day America was built on the destruction of Native American civilization; just like modern day Turkey was built on the destruction of Orthodox Christian civilization. Yet even today when the Christian faith is around 1% in modern day Turkey – once this part of the world was overwhelmingly Orthodox Christian before countless Islamic invasions took place; then this still isn’t good enough and this can be seen by allowing Muslims to say prayers inside the Hagia Sophia in Trabzon.
The fate of Christians in the Middle East because of the policies of America, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, and several Gulf nations, is one of survival at best to migrating to different nations. Yet even in the heart of Europe parts of this continent have either become graveyards for Orthodox Christians – where even graveyards are attacked – or like in modern day Kosovo it is clear that Orthodox Christians reside in ghettoes and are marginalized. One can only imagine what will happen to Macedonia if a major war broke out because going by the past policies of America, Turkey, and the United Kingdom, then the outcome appears obvious and this applies to de-Christianization? It is not a simple Christian and Muslim split because clearly political elites in America, Qatar, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom are mainly on the same side. Likewise, the mainly Muslim Kurds have suffered greatly in Turkey and throughout the Middle East. Also, the Alevi in Turkey are treated like second-class citizens in various walks of life. Similarly, in Syria the Gulf and Western backed sectarian and Takfiri forces are killing and persecuting Alawites, Christians, the Shia and Sunni’s who don’t support sectarianism and Takfiri mindsets. Therefore, you have a strange alliance of major Gulf and Western powers which side with militant Sunni Islamist forces in the Middle East and North Africa – and the same forces aid and abet the Ottoman legacy in the Balkans at the expense of Orthodox Christians.
The recent takeover of the Hagia Sophia in Trabzon barely reached a murmur in London and Washington because elites in both nations care little about Christianity. After all, “proof is in the pudding” so to speak because East Timor, Northern Cyprus, Kosovo, Sudan, West Papua and other parts of the world bare testimony to this. Recent events in the Middle East also confirm this because approximately 50% of all Christians fled Iraq on the watch of America, the United Kingdom and allied forces. Now in modern day Syria the Christian community is also under pressure because of Gulf and Western powers – alongside Turkey – which are supporting militant Islamist forces which hate the Alawites, Christians, the Shia and mainstream Sunni Muslim leaders. In The Economist it was stated that “ON JULY 5th the mufti of Trabzon gathered with other citizens for the first Friday prayers of the holy fasting month of Ramadan, not at a mosque but at an ancient Byzantine church. The gathering was a symbolic re-enactment of the conquest in 1462 of this ancient Greek Black Sea port by Mehmet II, the Ottoman sultan who had wrested Constantinople from the Byzantines in 1453. He marked his victory by converting the Haghia Sophia cathedral of today’s Istanbul into a mosque”.
“Haghia Sophia’s sister of the same name in Trabzon is less grand. Yet with its dazzling frescoes and magnificent setting overlooking the sea, the 13th-century building is regarded as one of the finest examples of Byzantine architecture……The decision provoked surprising anger in a city notorious for its ultra-nationalist views. “It’s about erasing the Christian past, reviving Ottomanism,” says a local historian. “There are enough mosques in Trabzon, half of them empty, what was the need?” chimes in Zeki Bakar, a neighbourhood councillor. A lawsuit has been brought to undo the conversion“. Many Turkish nationals, irrespective if Muslim or mainly secular, are equally alarmed by the real motives behind this act. One can only imagine the reactions of world leaders and the Muslim community if such a famous thirteenth century mosque was converted into a Christian church or Buddhist temple – would they remain so silent? However, in modern day Kosovo, northern Cyprus and with this act in Turkey under Erdogan – then for Orthodox Christians it is a continuation of eradicating the past and showing who is in control.
In Northern Cyprus and Kosovo vast numbers of Orthodox Christians have fled in order to escape systematic persecution. The reality is that in modern day Kosovo the same religious cleansing, destruction of Orthodox Christian churches, marginalization and many murders have all taken place during so-called peacetime. Therefore, the main difference between Northern Cyprus and modern day Kosovo is that the armed forces of Turkey enabled a quick death of Orthodox Christianity and destroying past architecture; whereas in Kosovo the Orthodox Christians are dying a more slow death because Kosovo Albanians don’t control the region militarily. Untold numbers of Orthodox Christian churches, monasteries, ancient architecture, religious art and so forth have been destroyed in Kosovo and Northern Cyprus. At the same time, in the Middle East and North Africa minority Muslim groups face persecution and this applies to the Alawites, Alevi, Sufi and the Shia. Indeed, Shia Muslims are often killed by Takfiris and other militant groups in several nations. Sadly, anti-Shia hatred is now growing in Egypt alongside anti-Coptic Christian attacks.
Sufi Muslims are also facing a tirade of hatred in Libya, Mali and Somalia and you have growing fears that this may be replicated in other nations because of the spread of Salafi ideology. Many Sufi shrines have been destroyed by Salafists which hate religious diversity within the Muslim faith. In recent times you have many shocking images of Sufi shrines being destroyed in Libya, Mali and Somalia – and now also in Syria shrines are being attacked by Takfiris. Therefore, minority Muslim groups, just like minority Christian communities in the Middle East, are facing a brutal onslaught. In a past article by Modern Tokyo Times it was stated that “The Turks could never destroy the ‘spirit and soul’ of the Orthodox Christian community in Kosovo despite the enslavement of young Christian boys being converted to Islam, dhimmitude, wars, heavy taxation and other factors. Fascism also couldn’t destroy this community during World War Two. However, the American and British political leadership laid down the foundations for the destruction of this embattled community.”
“Therefore, whenever London and Washington weave their geopolitical games in the Balkans and the Middle East, the end result is always the same. This applies to the weakening of all minority faiths and clearly the Christians, Alawites, the Shia and other communities like the Druze, have much to fear in Syria if the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and outside meddling overthrows the government of Syria. Indeed, mainstream Sunni Muslim religious leaders like the Grand Mufti of Syria also have much to fear. After all, just like Sufi shrines are now being destroyed in Libya, the same Islamists will also try to destroy liberal Sunni Islamic values in Syria”. The Guardian stated in an article called The Rape of northern Cyprus (5.6.1976) that “…The vandalism and desecration are so methodical and so widespread that they amount to institutionalized obliteration of everything sacred to a Greek […] In some instances, an entire graveyard of 50 or more tombs had been reduced to pieces or rubble no larger than a matchbox…we found the chapel of Ayios Demetrios at Ardhana empty but for the remains of the altar plinth, and that was fouled with human excrement […] At Syngrasis […] the broken crucifix was drenched in urine.. At Lefkoniko […the interior of Gaidhouras church…] was overlooked by an armless Christ on a smashed crucifix. Tombs gaped open wherever we went… crosses bearing the pictures of those buried beneath […] had been flattened and destroyed.”
Turn the clock forward to Kosovo and it is clear that Orthodox Christians don’t have complete freedom throughout a land they were born. Not only this, within the legal system it is apparent that Killing Serbian Orthodox Christians isn’t deemed to be important. This reality means that in modern day Europe you have two places where Orthodox Christians fear to walk, baptize openly, build churches, spread the message openly, and where they are unequal in law – and this applies to Kosovo and Northern Cyprus. B92 reported in 2011 that “More than 1,000 Serbs have been murdered in Kosovo since June 1999 – when the war ended and international forces were deployed in the province.” “This is according to Assistant Minister for Kosovo Kruna Kaličanin, who spoke in Belgrade on Thursday.” “She also noted that “almost nobody” was charged and put on trial for those crimes…The international community, in the meanwhile, showed a tendency to “minimize” the importance of Serb victims, Kaličanin added.”
Therefore, the real issue about Hagia Sophia in Trabzon in Turkey is about eradicating indigenous Christianity and humiliating the minority which survives. Likewise, minority Muslim groups in North Africa and the Middle East face the combined evils of terrorism, Salafism and Takfiri mindsets which hate religious diversity within the Muslim world. In modern day Syria you even have Muslim terrorists from Albania, Bosnia and Kosovo going to Syria in order to kill Alawites, Christians, the Shia and pro-government Sunni Muslims. This reality means that the power control mechanisms of Gulf powers, Western nations, and Turkey, are continuing to violate the rights of minority Christian and Muslim groups. Meanwhile, for the Shia, even when they are in a majority like in Iraq they still face daily terrorist attacks and having their mosques destroyed. Despite this, the same power brokers continue to ignore the reality of modern day Kosovo and Northern Cyprus; just like they are backing Salafi and Takfiri forces which are persecuting minority Muslim groups based on their militancy and hatred of religious diversity.
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Murals and paintings will be covered up during Muslim prayers in this holy Orthodox Christian place.
Nuray Lydia Oglu and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times