They entered the once-great cathedral, in its desacralized and appropriated state an international symbol of jihadist aggression and Islamic supremacism, and shouted a threat: “Pope, don’t make a mistake, don’t wear out our patience.”
“Protesters occupying building detained,” by Benjamin Harvey for Associated Press, with thanks to Twostellas:
ISTANBUL, Turkey – Police on Wednesday detained about 40 members of a Turkish nationalist party who earlier had occupied one of Istanbul’s most famous buildings, the Haghia Sophia, to protest the visit next week of Pope Benedict XVI.
The protesters belong to the Great Unity Party, a far right-wing group that has previously staged demonstrations against the planned Nov. 28-Dec. 1 visit.
They entered the 6th century former Byzantine church and mosque, shouting “Allahu akbar!” “” “God is great!” “” and then knelt to perform Islamic prayers.
They also shouted a warning to Benedict: “Pope, don’t make a mistake, don’t wear out our patience.”
A group leader read a statement saying Benedict had offended Muslims with his comments linking violence and Islam, but the reading was interrupted by police.