Sometimes stylized as R4BIA or, less commonly, Rab3a, is a hand gesture and a sign that first appeared in late August 2013, thought to be originated from Turkey and used in social media and protest marches in Egypt.
It is used by the Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters in Egypt in the wake of the overthrow of Mohamed Morsi, which occurred after anti-government protests calling for his removal.
On July 9, 2014, a Brotherhood-affiliated organization declared August 14, the day when the sit-ins were dispersed, “World Rabia Day,” in an attempt to garner support across numerous countries.
The sign is named after the Rabaa al-Adawiya Square in Nasr City, Cairo Governorate, which surrounds the Rabaa al-Adawiya Mosque, where a sit-in was held by the Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters to celebrate the one-year anniversary of Morsi’s inauguration. The sit-in lasted for about forty days before it was dispersed by security forces, leading to clashes that resulted in 638 deaths, of which 43 were police officers.
Supporters state that the gesture is used to express solidarity with what they call “the thousands wounded, killed and burnt by the Egyptian Army” during the dispersal of their sit-in. The origin of the sign is unknown.
Critics of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Morsi Government allege that the sign implies indirect support for terrorism, due to the sign’s use being mostly limited to persons supportive of the Brotherhood, which has been designated a terrorist organization by Egypt.
On the other hand, supporters of the Brotherhood, whether inside or outside Egypt, believe the gesture represents freedom and persistence. They also deny any association with terrorism.
Egyptian and non-Egyptian politicians, mostly supportive of the Muslim Brotherhood, are regularly seen making the Rabia gesture, which is identical to one common gesture for the number four. Among these politicians is Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.