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Turkey Converts Another Renowned Church into a Mosque



International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that on August 21, 2020, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan issued an official order converting the Byzantine Holy Savior Chora Church into a mosque. This presidential order was issued nearly one month after Turkey converted the Hagia Sophia Cathedral into a mosque, and nine months after the Turkish Council of State approved changing the Chora Church into a mosque. The Chora Church, located in Istanbul, is considered second in renown compared to the Hagia Sophia.

The Chora Church was originally built in 534 AD and converted into a mosque during the Ottoman conquest. It was later converted into the Kariye Museum following World War II. However, a lawsuit filed in 2005 challenged this decision. The lawsuit was based on the law of immovables, which states that once a building becomes a mosque, it cannot become anything else. This argument was affirmed by Turkey’s Council of State in November 2019.

A unique aspect of the Chora Church is the vast amount of medieval mosaics and frescos covering most of the church’s walls and domes which feature Biblical scenes. According to the precedent set by Turkey, the Christian artwork of churches which have been converted into mosques are covered. How this will look for the Chora Church is unclear. During the Ottoman conquest, the artwork was hidden under a layer of plaster.

Like the Hagia Sophia, the Chora Church is registered as a UNESCO heritage site. It is unclear how UNESCO will respond to the conversion of these churches into mosques. On its website, UNESCO describes the Chora Church as one of Istanbul’s “masterpieces.”

According to the November decision made by Turkey’s State Council, a mosque “cannot be used except for its essential function.” Critics have pointed out that that this language implies that “Turkish authorities appear to think that the original function of the former churches/museums was to serve as mosques. They thus completely ignore the Christian roots of the Chora Church and countless other churches in the region, as well as the Christian history of Constantinople [Istanbul].”

Turkey is recommended for a special watch list by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, the only member of NATO to appear on the list. Religious freedom in Turkey has significantly deteriorated since the 2016 coup attempt, with the ruling AK Party leaning even more heavily into Islamic nationalism. Turkey is currently facing a number of domestic crises impacting approval ratings. It is common for Turkey to pursue religious freedom violations in an attempt to distract and control the public narrative.

Claire Evans, ICC’s Regional Manager for the Middle East, said, “Unfortunately, today’s announcement was not surprising. We have been waiting for the implementation of the Council of State’s decision regarding the Chora Church for many months now. The mindset and logic used to justify the conversion of historic churches into mosques is alarming. In many ways, we are looking at the tip of an iceberg. These conversions are an expression of a larger disregard for religious freedom by the authorities. They are the consequence of Turkey’s attempt to erase Christianity from the country’s history. We must keep the Church in prayer, as these actions signal a disregard for freedom of conscience.”


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‘God Bless and Roll Tide’: Family Receives Amazing ‘Blessing’ Following Cruel Prank on 7-Year-Old Son



Seven-year-old Brody Kirk really likes the Alabama football team. In fact, he’s such a big fan, he cried happy tears when the team scored its first 66-yard touchdown pass by quarterback Mac Jones during last weekend’s Iron Bowl between Alabama and the Auburn Tigers.

After Brody’s dad, Cody Kirk, posted a video of his son’s excitement over the impressive pass to wide received DeVonta Smith, some cruel prankster called the Kirk household, pretending to be an employee with the University of Alabama. The person gave the 7-year-old boy a fake invite to come meet the entire team and coach Nick Saban. But it was all a ruse.

When the family found out it was a mean-spirited trick, the kid’s mom, Brooke Kirk, wrote about it on social media. On Thursday, Brooke shared quite the surprise with people who have followed the story.

Greg Byrne, the athletic director for the university, caught wind of what happened to Brody and reached out to Cody. The entire ordeal, Brooke recalled, “upset [Byrne] very much.” So the athletic director asked for the family’s address so he could send Brody “a surprise.”

“This ‘Bama box’ came in the mail today!” Brooke wrote in a Facebook post published Thursday, sharing photos of a prize-filled package, which included a football signed by Saban and his wife as well as an autographed picture of the famous coach. Brody’s mom called the unexpected gift “such a blessing.”

“Brody was so excited and so incredibly thankful for this sweet gift!” she continued. “This was just another amazing example of how God works all things for the good of those who love Him. He took this crude prank that someone played on our 7 year old and turned it into a blessing that made my sweet boy so happy. We didn’t avenge. God did. He got the last laugh and we got a ’Bama blessing. God bless and roll tide!”

The 69-year-old Saban was not able to be with his team in-person for the weekend game because he recently tested positive for COVID-19 and has been quarantining. He described the distance as “very hard,” particularly given he feels “great.”

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അമേരിക്കയിൽ തൊഴിലില്ലായ്മ വേതനത്തിനുള്ള അപേക്ഷകർ



ന്യൂയോർക്ക്∙ അമേരിക്കയിൽ തൊഴിലില്ലായ്മ വേതനത്തിന് അപേക്ഷിക്കുന്ന അമേരിക്കക്കാരുടെ എണ്ണം കഴിഞ്ഞയാഴ്ച 712,000 ആയി. യുഎസ് സമ്പദ്‌വ്യവസ്ഥയും തൊഴിൽ വിപണിയും ബിസ്സിനസ്സ് – വ്യവസായ മേഖലകളും കോവിഡ് വ്യാപനത്തിന്റെ വൈറൽ പൊട്ടിത്തെറിമൂലം സമ്മർദ്ദത്തിലാണെന്നതിന്റെ ഏറ്റവും പുതിയ സൂചനയാണിത്.

യുഎസ് സമ്പദ്‌വ്യവസ്ഥയെ വൈറസ് തളർത്തുന്നതിനു മുൻപ്, കഴിഞ്ഞ മാർച്ചിൽ ഓരോ ആഴ്ചയും തൊഴിലില്ലായ്മ ആനുകൂല്യങ്ങൾക്കായി അപേക്ഷിക്കുന്നവരുടെ എണ്ണം ഏകദേശം 2,25,000 ആയിരുന്നു. പുതിയ സ്ഥിരീകരിച്ച വൈറൽ കേസുകൾ ഇപ്പോൾ ശരാശരി 1,60,000 കവിയുന്നതിനാൽ, സമ്പദ്‌വ്യവസ്ഥയുടെ മിതമായ വീണ്ടെടുക്കൽ കൂടുതൽ അപകടത്തിലാണ്.

പകർച്ചവ്യാധി കാരണം കഴിഞ്ഞ ഒൻപത് മാസത്തിന് ശേഷവും നിരവധി തൊഴിൽ രംഗങ്ങൾ മന്ദഗതിയിലായതിനാൽ പലതും നഷ്ടത്തിലാണ് ഇപ്പോൾ പ്രവർത്തിക്കുന്നത്. തന്മൂലം തൊഴിലുടമകൾ തൊഴിലാളികളുടെ ജോലി സമയം വെട്ടിക്കുറയ്ക്കുകയോ, ജോലിക്കാരെ താൽക്കാലിക അവധിയിൽ പ്രവേശിപ്പിക്കുവാനോ നിർബന്ധിതരാവുന്നു.
കടപ്പാട് :ആഴ്ച്ച വട്ടം ഓൺലൈൻ

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