International Flags with a Crescent Moon Symbol

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Introduction

Starry Peaceful Night
narvikk / Getty Images

There are several Muslim countries that feature the crescent moon and star on their national flag, although the crescent moon is not generally considered to be a symbol of Islam. Many countries have used the symbol previously in history, but the color, size, orientation, and design features vary widely from country to country and during various time periods. It is also interesting to note the ethnic and cultural diversity of the countries represented.

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Flag of Algeria

Algeria is located in northern Africa and gained independence from France in 1962.  Ninety-nine percent of Algeria's population is Muslim; the small 1% remainder are Christian and Jewish.

The Algerian 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.

 

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Flag of Azerbaijan

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

The flag of Azerbaijan 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.

 

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Flag of Comoros

Flag of Comoros
Flag of Comoros. Photo: World Factbook, 2009

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.

 

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Flag of Malaysia

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

The Malaysian 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 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.

 

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Flag of the Maldives

The Maldives is a group of atolls (islands) in the Indian Ocean, southwest of India.  All (100%) 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. 

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Flag of Mauritania

Mauritania is located in north-western Africa.  All (100%) of Mauritania's population is Muslim.

The flag of Mauritania 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.

 

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Flag of Pakistan

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

The Pakistani 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.

 

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Flag of Tunisia

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

The Tunisian 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.

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Flag of Turkey

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 Turkish flag dates back to the Ottoman Empire and features a red background with a white crescent and white star.

 

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Flag of Turkmenistan

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

The flag of Turkmenistan is one of the world's most detailed designs. Turkmenistan's flag 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. 

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Flag of Uzbekistan

 

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 country or alternatively, 12 months in a year.