Turkey: First Quran reading at Istanbul's Haiga Sophia in 85 years

Ali Tel recited a passage from the Quran for the first time in 85 years in Istanbul's famous landmark, the Hagia Sophia, Saturday. Ali Tel, imam at the Ahmet Hamdi Akseki Mosque in Ankara read the passage from the holy book at a ceremony for a new exhibition under the motto "Love of the Prophet," showing calligraphic work dedicated to the Prophet Mohammed which runs until May 8. Top Turkish officials such as the head of Presidency of Religious Affairs Mehmet Gormez were in attendance. The Hagia Sophia was constructed in the sixth century as a Christian Byzantine Church but was transformed into a mosque, when Ottoman forces under Mehmet II conquered Constantinople, Istanbul's former name, in 1453. It was then turned into a museum in the 1930s by modern Turkey's secular founders.