Was The Statue of Liberty Modeled After An Muslim Arab Woman?

A shocking claim from historians. The Statue of Liberty could have been modeled after an Arab woman. This shocking claim about Lady Liberty has been circulating the web following the outrage caused by U.S. President Donald Trump’s travel ban on immigrants and refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries last week. The Statue of Liberty was designed by French sculptor Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi. For over 130 years, Lady Liberty’s statue has been greeting immigrants coming to the United States at the gates of New York City.

Lady Liberty Muslim

According to historian Edward Berenson, the statue was initially planned for Egypt. The designer, Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi, was known to have a deep appreciation for Egyptian culture and monuments, and he had initially decided to build the statue to commemorate the opening of the Suez Canal in Egypt in the 1860s, USA Today reports.

“And that monument was going to be a woman in the southern opening of the canal holding up a torch over her head and that woman was dressed in Arab peasant garb.”

The project was abandoned later when the then-ruler of Egypt, Khedewi Ismail Pasha, went bankrupt. Berenson claims that Bartholdi modified his original design which resulted in the Statue of Liberty. A bold claim. Could Lady Liberty, one of America’s most iconic symbols, really have been modeled after an Arab Muslim peasant from Egypt?

Historians have claimed that Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi wanted his statue to welcome boats into Egypt’s brand new canal, sort of like how the Colossus of Rhodes did in Greece in ancient times. Historian Barry Moreno, who has been studying the history of the Statue of Liberty all his life, has claimed that Bartholdi had submitted his plans for a veiled peasant woman (representing the traditional Egyptian woman).

“Taking the form of a veiled peasant woman, the statue was to stand 86 feet high, and its pedestal was to rise to a height of 48 feet.”

The earliest models of this statue were named “Egypt Carrying the Light to Asia.” However, with the ruler of Egypt gone bankrupt, the design was rejected, so Bartholdi decided to take his designs to the United States. It is said that Bartholdi initially handed over the same design of the veiled Arab woman. But after discussing the matter over, he decided on modifying it. The Islamic robe was removed and the design was transformed into the Roman Goddess of Liberty. Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi described his design as “Liberty Enlightening the World.” The statue has been looking over New York Harbor since 1886.

Statue of Liberty modeled after arab woman

President Trump signed the controversial orders indefinitely barring all Syrian Refugees, and putting a 120-day bar on refugees from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen, on Friday, January 27. Furthermore no Visa would be issued to the citizens of these countries for the next 30 days until, as the President puts it, “sufficient vetting” is guaranteed. President Trump has justified his ban by saying:

“We don’t want to admit the very threats our soldiers are fighting overseas. We only want to admit those that support our country and love, deeply, our people.”

Trump’s decision was however temporarily overturned by the Seattle-based federal judge James Robart. A defiant Donald Trump and his administration had said that they would be requesting the U.S. appeals court to reinstate Trump’s travel bans for refugees and immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries, viz. Syria, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan and Libya. However, the appeal was rejected, and as of now, the travel ban has been temporarily lifted.

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