The Crescent Moon Symbol on National Flags

There are several Muslim countries that currently feature the crescent moon and star on their national flag, even though the crescent moon is not generally considered to be a symbol of Islam. Many countries have used the symbol in the past, and the color, size, orientation, and design features vary widely from country to country and during various time periods. These flags listed here are those in the world which today feature a crescent moon.

A surprisingly diverse group of nations feature this symbol today.

01
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Algeria

High resolution digital render of Algeria flag

Mariano Sayno / husayno.com / Getty Images

Algeria is located in northern Africa and gained independence from France in 1962. Ninety-nine percent of Algeria's population is Muslim; the remainder is Christian or Jewish.

Algeria's flag is half green and half white. In the center is a red crescent and star. The white color represents peace and purity. Green represents hope and the beauty of nature. The crescent and star symbolize faith and are colored red to honor the blood of those killed fighting for independence.

02
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Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan Flag
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Azerbaijan is located in Southwestern Asia, and it gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. Ninety-three percent of Azerbaijan's population is Muslim, the remainder is largely Russian Orthodox or Armenian Orthodox.

Azerbaijan's flag features three equal horizontal bands of blue, red and green (top to bottom). A white crescent and eight-pointed star are centered in the red band. The blue band represents Turkic heritage, red represents progress and green represents Islam. The eight-pointed star signifies the eight branches of the Turkic people.

03
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Comoros

Flag of Comoros
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Comoros is a group of islands in Southern Africa, located between Mozambique and Madagascar. Ninety-eight percent of Comoros' population is Muslim; the rest are Roman Catholic.

The Comoros flag is relatively new, as it was last changed and adopted in 2002.  It features four horizontal bands of yellow, white, red and blue (top to bottom). There is a green isosceles triangle along the side, with a white crescent and four stars within it. The four bands of color and the four stars represent the four main islands of the archipelago.

04
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Malaysia

Low Angle View Of National Flag Waving Against Star Field At Night
Aleksandar Milosavljevic / EyeEm / Getty Images

Malaysia is located in Southeast Asia. Sixty percent of Malaysia's population is Muslim. Of the remainder, 20 percent are Buddhist, 9 percent are Christian, and 6 percent are Hindu. There are also smaller populations practicing Confucianism, Taoism, and other traditional Chinese religions.

Malaysia's flag is called the "Stripes of Glory." The fourteen horizontal stripes (red and white) represent ​equal status of the member states and the federal government of Malaysia. In the upper corner is a blue rectangle representing the unity of the people. Inside it is a yellow crescent and star; yellow is the royal color of the Malaysian rulers. The star has 14 points, which signifies the unity of the member states and the federal government.

05
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The Maldives

Flag of Maldives
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The Maldives is a group of atolls (islands) in the Indian Ocean, southwest of India. All of the Maldives' population is Muslim.

The Maldives' flag has a red background which signifies the bravery and blood of the nation's heroes. In the middle is a large green rectangle, representing life and prosperity. There is a simple white crescent in the center, to signify the Islamic faith.

06
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Mauritania

close-up of the flag of Mauritania
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Mauritania is located in north-western Africa. All of Mauritania's population is Muslim.

Mauritania's flag features a green background with a gold crescent and star. The colors on the flag signify Mauritania's African heritage, as they are traditional Pan-African colors. Green may also represent hope, and gold the sand of the Sahara Desert. The crescent and star signify Mauritania's Islamic heritage.

07
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Pakistan

Pakistani Flag
Aliraza Khatri's Photography / Getty Images

Pakistan is located in southern Asia. Ninety-six percent of Pakistan's population is Muslim; the remainder is Christian or Hindu.

Pakistan's flag is predominantly green, with a vertical white band along the edge. Within the green section is a large white crescent moon and star. The green background represents Islam, and the white band represents Pakistan's religious minorities. The crescent signifies progress, and the star represents knowledge.

08
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Tunisia

Flag On Boat At Chott El Djerid
Massimo Lama / EyeEm / Getty Images

Tunisia is located in northern Africa. Ninety-nine percent of Tunisia's population is Muslim. The remainder includes Christian, Jewish, and Baha'i.

Tunisia's flag features a red background, with a white circle in the center. Inside the circle is a red crescent moon and a red star. This flag dates back to 1835 and was inspired by the Ottoman flag. Tunisia was part of the Ottoman Empire from the late 16th century until 1881.

09
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Turkey

Turkish flag on a ship on the background of the Bosphorus Bridge
Anton Petrus / Getty Images

Turkey is located on the border of Asia and Europe. Ninety-nine of Turkey's population is Muslim; there are also small populations of Christian and Jewish people.

The design of the flag of Turkey dates back to the Ottoman Empire and features a red background with a white crescent and white star.

10
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Turkmenistan

Flag of Turkmenistan
enigma_images / Getty Images

Turkmenistan is located in Central Asia; it became independent from the Soviet Union in 1991. Eighty-nine percent of Turkmenistan's population is Muslim, and the other 9 percent are Eastern Orthodox.

The flag of Turkmenistan is one of the world's most detailed designs. It features a green background with a vertical red stripe along the side. Inside the stripe are five traditional carpet-weaving motifs (symbolic of the country's famed carpet industry), stacked above two crossed olive branches, which signify the country's neutrality. In the upper corner are a white crescent moon (symbolizing a bright future) along with five white stars, representing the regions of Turkmenistan.

11
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Uzebekistan

close-up of the flag of Uzbekistan
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Uzbekistan is located in Central Asia and became independent from the Soviet Union in 1991. Eighty-eight percent of Uzbekistan's population is Muslim; the rest are mostly Eastern Orthodox.

Uzbekistan's flag features three equal horizontal bands of blue, white, and green (top to bottom). Blue represents water and sky, white represents light and peace, and green represents nature and youth. Between each band are thinner red lines, representing "the tributaries of the power of life flowing through our bodies" (translation from Uzbek by Mark Dickens). In the upper-left corner, there is a white crescent moon to signify Uzbek heritage and independence, and 12 white stars representing either the 12 districts of the nation or, alternatively, 12 months in a year.