Saad El-Din Helaly, a professor of Islamic jurisprudence at Al-Azhar University in Egypt, said in a July 13, 2020 interview on MBC Misr TV (Saudi Arabia/Egypt) that the Turkish "Muslim Brotherhood affiliated government," is escalating "against human civilization" by declaring that Friday prayers will be held at Hagia Sophia on July 24, 2020. He said that Hagia Sophia should remain a museum and that it is the nature of the Muslim Brotherhood and of political Islam to take things from other people and religions. He also called upon Muslims in Turkey to boycott the July 24 Friday prayers at Hagia Sophia. He added that in 1945, the world had agreed to "let bygones be bygones" and to solve conflicts peacefully, and he accused Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of wanting to go back to how things were before 1945.
Saad El-Din Helaly: "The Muslim Brotherhood government of Turkey is further escalating matters by announcing that the Friday prayers of the next week – on July 24 – will be conducted at the Hagia Sophia museum. This is an escalation against human civilization, and this also demonstrates to the world that 'this is what Muslims are like.' We wash our hands of their taking over the properties and possessions of others. I am sad to say that this escalation harms Islam and the Muslims, unless they wash their hands of this bad conduct. I'd also like to add that a message to all the peace-loving peoples is in order. They should know that this is the nature of the Muslim Brotherhood. If they rise to power, they will put their hands on people's possessions from China to America, and not just to Spain, or to Al-Andalus. This is the nature of political Islam. It strives to take over other people's possessions and what other people have toiled to achieve.
"The era of religious strife is over – when Muslims were fighting Christians or Jews were fighting Muslims. The era of religious strife is over. Religion belongs to Allah. Why should we regress, after human civilization has achieved this? Therefore, I call upon the honorable Muslims in Turkey to boycott [the Friday prayers at Hagia Sophia] on July 24 and onward, out of respect for the property of others and the property of the people. If we consider [the Hagia Sophia] to be a museum then it belongs to the people. If we consider it to be a cathedral – in line with the historical right – then it belongs to our Christian brothers."
Interviewer: "Why is the West angry? They did the same to us. After the fall of the Andalusian civilization, many great, historic, and famous mosques were turned into churches."
Helaly: "As I said at the beginning, the year 1945 as a watershed moment. There was a new global agreement to let bygones be bygones, to start solving conflicts in peaceful ways, to prevent religious strife, to prevent the peddling of religion, and [to establish] freedom of faith, personal liberties, democracy... All these were inconceivable before 1945. Erdogan wants to turn the clock back to the way it was before 1945, and this is the problem."