Salon Endorses the Bloody Seizure of the Hagia Sophia by Jihadis

That inexhaustible fountain of Leftist propaganda, Salon on Saturday published a bubbly piece by Ashima Krishna, “an architect and historic preservation planner,” enthusing about how “churches in neighborhoods that aren’t doing well [in] areas that are less attractive to developers looking to turn a profit” have recently been converted into houses of worship of other religions. In the course of her excitement, Krishna likened this phenomenon to one of the bloodiest jihad conquests in history, which apparently has her full endorsement. Just another day at Salon.

“In Buffalo, New York,” Krishna informs us, “two empty Roman Catholic churches were recently converted — not into apartments or offices, but into other places of worship. One became an Islamic mosque, the other a Buddhist temple.”

As far as Krishna is concerned, this phenomenon has no downside: “With immigrant and refugee populations growing in post-industrial cities across the U.S., the conversion of vacant Christian churches into new places of worship can preserve historic architecture and strengthen burgeoning communities.”

What’s more, she says, this conversion of worship spaces has a noteworthy historical precedent: “Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia famously switched from a Christian church to a mosque in 1453. The same sort of conversions have been taking place in Buffalo’s East Side. Many former Catholic churches have, over the years, been converted into other denominations…But several former Christian churches in Buffalo’s East Side also now serve as sites of worship for other religions. Two mosques, Bait Ul Mamur Inc. Masjid and Masjid Zakariya, used to be Saint Joachim’s Roman Catholic Church and Holy Mother of Rosary Polish National Catholic Church, respectively.”

The same sort of conversions have been taking place in Buffalo that took place in Constantinople in 1453? Really? The Hagia Sophia “switched” from a church to a mosque? This is akin to saying that Jews switched to lampshades in Nazi Germany. The History of Jihad From Muhammad to ISIS recounts how, after over 700 years of trying, the warriors of jihad finally entered the great city on May 29, 1453. When they did, they made the streets run with rivers of blood. Muslims raided monasteries and convents, emptying them of their inhabitants, and plundered private houses.

In this course of this plunder, pillage, and wanton murder, the jihadis entered the Hagia Sophia, which for nearly a thousand years had been the grandest church in Christendom. The venerable old building was filled with Orthodox Christians: the faithful had gathered within its hallowed walls to pray during the city’s last agony. The Muslims halted the celebration of Orthros (morning prayer), while the priests, according to legend, took the sacred vessels and disappeared into the cathedral’s eastern wall, through which they shall return to complete the divine service one day. Right in the church, the jihad warriors then killed the elderly and weak and led the rest off into slavery.

The Byzantine scholar Bessarion wrote to the Doge of Venice in July 1453, saying that Constantinople had been:

…sacked by the most inhuman barbarians and the most savage enemies of the Christian faith, by the fiercest of wild beasts. The public treasure has been consumed, private wealth has been destroyed, the temples have been stripped of gold, silver, jewels, the relics of the saints, and other most precious ornaments. Men have been butchered like cattle, women abducted, virgins ravished, and children snatched from the arms of their parents.

When the slaughter and pillage were finished, Mehmet II ordered an Islamic scholar to walk through the blood-soaked nave of the Hagia Sophia and mount the high pulpit, where he was to declare that there was no God but Allah, and Muhammad was his prophet. This was how the Hagia Sophia “switched”: according to Islamic belief and practice, the proclamation of the Islamic faith in the magnificent old church, over the anguished cries of the wounded and enslaved and the still-warm bodies of those who had been murdered, immediately turned the cathedral into a mosque. Hundreds of other churches in Constantinople and elsewhere suffered the same fate. In the ensuing months and years, millions of Christians joined the ranks of the subjugated dhimmis; others were enslaved, and many more were killed.

That’s how the Hagia Sophia “famously switched from a Christian church to a mosque.” Yet Salon is trying to make that bloodbath out to be a routine real estate transaction. Ashima Krishna’s egregiously tone-deaf article is just one more example of the establishment media’s universal tendency to minimize, ignore, or deny outright the reality of Islamic jihad, and to whitewash Islamic doctrine and history.

Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is author of the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book is The History of Jihad From Muhammad to ISIS. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.