Crash Course in Islam — Moon
>>STEVE ST. GEORGE: Hello. I'm Steve St. George. And this is your crash course in Islam. Today we examine the crescent moon and its relation to Islam. For many people the image of the crescent moon and Islam go hand in hand. The two have become so entwined in the popular imagination that it's led some to believe that Muslims worship a moon god, which isn't true. Muslims worship Allah who they believe is also the God of the Jews and Christians. But how did the two, the moon and Islam become so closely associated. It all goes back to the Ottomans. The Muslim Ottoman Empire controlled large swaths of the Middle East and North Africa when as any empire builders they decided they wanted to expand. And the territory they wanted was in Europe. Eventually they would come to control Greece, much of the Balkans and portions of Eastern Europe. On the Ottoman flag flew the crescent moon, a symbol the Turks adopted from the city of Constantinople after conquering it. Because a crescent moon was a symbol for the Ottomans, it also became the symbol for Muslims in general. For many in the West, it has since been adopted by some Muslim nations finding its way onto the flags of countries as diverse as Malaysia, Pakistan and Algeria. Although some in the Muslim community reject the crescent moon because it can be seen as a pagan symbol.