Egyptian athletes expected to compete in the Olympics are also banned from flashing the four-fingered symbol, according to the country’s sports minister.
The “Rabia” or “R4bia” symbol is a reference to the deaths of Muslim protestors in Rabia al-Adawiya Square. It is a symbol of support for the now-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood. Rabia means four or fourth in Arabic, and it sounds the same as the name of the mosque that became the center of pro-Muslim protests in 2012.
Following the revolution that deposed former dictator Hosni Mubarak in 2011, the Muslim Brotherhood won a national election in 2012. However, incoming president Mohamed Morsi abrogated so much power to himself that the Egyptian military staged a coup in the summer of 2013. Since then, the Muslim Brotherhood has been banned in the country even though it won the last democratic vote there.
According to a Google translated versions of Sharouk News, Egyptian police recently posted a warning on Facebook that anyone who posts the R4bia sign will be regarded as a terrorist who supports the Brotherhood, and could be subjected to five years in prison.