When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Already a subscriber? Log in .

You've reached your limit of one free article.

Get unlimited access to Worldcrunch

You can cancel anytime .


Exclusive International news coverage

Ad-free experience NEW

Weekly digital Magazine NEW

9 daily & weekly Newsletters

Access to Worldcrunch archives

Free trial

30-days free access, then $2.90
per month.

Annual Access BEST VALUE

$19.90 per year, save $14.90 compared to monthly billing.save $14.90.

Subscribe to Worldcrunch

The Four Fingers Holding Up The Muslim Brotherhood

Sept.14 protests in Cairo
Sept.14 protests in Cairo
Laura Thompson

TUNIS – At a recent Ghana vs. Egypt World Cup qualifying match, Ghanaian soccer fans wore yellow t-shirts and held signs featuring a dark black hand holding up four fingers. The clear attempt to taunt the Egyptian fans is the latest appearance of what has become an increasingly important symbol of the sharp divisions in Egypt — and broader regional fault lines between Islamist and secular forces.

Backers of the Brotherhood inside Egypt and abroad have been displaying the four-fingered hand to commemorate the Egyptian security forces' August massacre of more than 600 supporters of deposed President Mohamed Morsi.

The four-finger sign, also know as the "R4bia" salute, is a reference to the name of the Cairo mosque that held the largest pro-Morsi sit-in protest: RabaaAl-Adawiya, as the word rabaa means "fourth" in Arabic. More and more images of the four-fingered hand are appearing, and have been accompanied on social media by hashtags like "#anti-coup," and have popped up elsewhere among those supporting the Brotherhood, from Turkey to Tunisia.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan used the four-fingered gesture to greet crowds during public speeches in August, while Turkey's official news agency reported that following the August massacre in Cairo, more than 300 Turkish babies were given the name Rabaa in a gesture of solidarity.

Across the Mediterranean, Tunisians anxious about the future of their own Brotherhood-branded Islamist party, Ennahda, have made the four-fingered hand their Facebook profile picture and have brandished the image at demonstrations.

Rabaa Al-Adawiya, the namesake of the Cairo mosque, was an 8th century Sufi mystic and poet, both radically different from and curiously similar to those who hid within her mosque's now destroyed walls:

A slave in Egypt who came from a poor Iraqi family, Rabaa Al-Adawiya was set free by her wealthy master who was moved by her resolute religious faith and patient devotion to prayer.

History aside, opponents of the Islamists have not taken kindly to the spreading symbol. When a photo circulated of an unidentified Tunisian school teacher and her students holding up four fingers for a class picture, an anti-Islamist Tunisian news site singled out the one young boy who appeared to be defying his teacher: "Let us salute the child to the left of the teacher who kept his hands in his pockets and who seems to refuse to participate in this masquerade."

In Egypti, anti-Morsi journalist and blogger Amr Ezzat shared an ironic Facebook update about a scheduled protest that vowed to shatter the coup by “adding two new fingers to the image of four."

In the meantime, pro-Morsi demonstrations — led by the National Alliance to Support Legitimacy and Reject the Coup — continue. On Friday, following the major Muslim religious holiday of Eid Al-Adha, Egyptian security forces closed off the space around what remains of the Rabaa Al-Adawiya mosque.

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.


Livestream Shopping Is Huge In China — Will It Fly Elsewhere?

Streaming video channels of people shopping has been booming in China, and is beginning to win over customers abroad as a cheap and cheerful way of selling products to millions of consumers glued to the screen.

A A female volunteer promotes spring tea products via on-line live streaming on a pretty mountain surrounded by tea plants.

In Beijing, selling spring tea products via on-line live streaming.

Xinhua / ZUMA
Gwendolyn Ledger

SANTIAGOTikTok, owned by Chinese tech firm ByteDance, has spent more than $500 million to break into online retailing. The app, best known for its short, comical videos, launched TikTok Shop in August, aiming to sell Chinese products in the U.S. and compete with other Chinese firms like Shein and Temu.

Tik Tok Shop will have three sections, including a live or livestream shopping channel, allowing users to buy while watching influencers promote a product.

This choice was strategic: in the past year, live shopping has become a significant trend in online retailing both in the U.S. and Latin America. While still an evolving technology, in principle, it promises good returns and lower costs.

Chilean Carlos O'Rian Herrera, co-founder of Fira Onlive, an online sales consultancy, told América Economía that live shopping has a much higher catchment rate than standard website retailing. If traditional e-commerce has a rate of one or two purchases per 100 visits to your site, live shopping can hike the ratio to 19%.

Live shopping has thrived in China and the recent purchases of shopping platforms in some Latin American countries suggests firms are taking an interest. In the United States, live shopping generated some $20 billion in sales revenues in 2022, according to consultants McKinsey. This constituted 2% of all online sales, but the firm believes the ratio may become 20% by 2026.

Keep reading...Show less

The latest