Home Web Specials A conqueror mindset is inimical to dialogue

A conqueror mindset is inimical to dialogue

Turkey - SMULDUR/PIXABAY

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The Association for Welfare, Community, and Dialogue is saddened by the decision of Turkisih President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to convert the ancient Byzantine Chora Church in the heart of Istanbul into a mosque.

This decision is reminiscent of the conversion of Hagia Sophia in 2020.

The move to repurpose it as a mosque has drawn criticism from preservationists and religious minority groups alike, who argue that it represents a disregard for cultural heritage and religious tolerance.

Today there is a global appeal to do away with Islamophobia, which is a legitimate call, but the actions of Turkish authorities in converting a Christian heritage site into a mosque will only reinforce distrust among non-Muslims.

It will bring back the ancient wounds of the clash of civilisations and damage the relative Christian-Muslim unity that honest peace brokers painstakingly forged on both sides in several countries where there is a Muslim and Christian presence.

A few months ago, I was in Turkey and discovered a strong Christian presence in its architectural and religious history. There are Christian archaeological sites in places like Ephesus, Cappadocia and Istanbul.

In the Bible, the New Testament books such as Galatians, Ephesians and Colossians were all written to churches in what is modern-day Turkey.

The fundamental question in any meaningful civilisational dialogue is how one perceives and reciprocates equality.

One cannot demand equality when one is a minority in a country and, at the same time, insist on majoritarian hegemony when there is a majority.

Muslim communities around the world legitimately demand equality wherever they are a minority, but such a demand is not respected in certain Muslim-majority countries.

READ MORE:  'It's as if Palestinian and Arab Christians don’t exist' - Munther Isaac

It is time the Istanbul authorities respect the places of heritage of the Christians that contributed much to what Turkey is today.

Authentic dialogue among civilisations can only take place when a conqueror mindset is discarded. – Malaysiakini

The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

AGENDA RAKYAT - Lima perkara utama
  1. Tegakkan maruah serta kualiti kehidupan rakyat
  2. Galakkan pembangunan saksama, lestari serta tangani krisis alam sekitar
  3. Raikan kerencaman dan keterangkuman
  4. Selamatkan demokrasi dan angkatkan keluhuran undang-undang
  5. Lawan rasuah dan kronisme
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