During the Russo-Turkish War from 1876 to 1878, the Ottoman Empire used a Red Crescent instead of the Red Cross because its government believed that the cross would alienate its Muslim soldiers.
When asked by the ICRC in 1877, Russia committed to fully respect the sanctity of all persons and facilities bearing the Red Crescent symbol, followed by a similar commitment from the Ottoman government to respect the Red Cross. After this de facto assessment of equal validity to both symbols, the ICRC declared in 1878 that it should be possible in principle to adopt an additional official protection symbol for non-Christian countries. The Red Crescent was formally recognized in 1929 when the Geneva Conventions were amended (Article 19). After the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the Red Crescent was first used by its successor nation Turkey, followed by Egypt. From its official recognition to today, the Red Crescent became the organizational emblem of nearly every national society in countries with majority Muslim populations. The national societies of some countries such as Pakistan (1974), Malaysia (1975), or Bangladesh (1989) have officially changed their name and emblem from the Red Cross to the Red Crescent. The Red Crescent is used by 33 of the 186 recognized societies worldwide.
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Category: Medical Symbols.
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