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Statue of Liberty could have been an Arab woman

The Statue of Liberty could have been an Arab woman dressed in Muslim garmets, according to historians. The surprise discovery comes after Donald Trump’s policies surrounding Muslim-majority countries and immigration crackdowns. His ban on seven countries has run into controversy after being represented as a ‘Muslim ban’.


However, researchers believe New York’s iconic monument, which greeted migrants to the country in the 20th century, was meant to be a Muslim woman holding a torch aloft.  The sculptor’s first sketch for ‘Lady Liberty’ was originally intended to represent an Egyptian peasant. Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, the architect of the icon, originally planned for his work to guard the newly-opened Suez Canal in Egypt. He wanted his mammoth harbour monument to welcome boats into the mouth of Egypt’s groundbreaking canal.

Barry Moreno, a historian on the statue, said: “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. Early models of the statue were called ‘Egypt Carrying the Light to Asia’. However, officials in Egypt rejected his proposals for a robed woman holding a torch aloft, so he took his plans to America. Mr Bartholdi handed over his plans for a Muslim woman adorned with Arab peasant garb.


But, after further discussions, he dropped her Islamic robe and transformed her into a Roman Goddess of Liberty, or as he put, ‘Liberty Enlightening the World’.  The statue has kept guard over New York Harbour since 1886. Historians still believe that the woman who served as the model for Lady Liberty’s face was Bartholdi’s mother, Augusta. (

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