List of names allowed and prohibited in the Arab world


Four years ago, when the daughter of the Algerian citizen, Abdelmadjid Labadi, was born, he wanted to call her Tanila, which means dove in the Amazigh language. But the name was not on the list of 300 Amazigh names allowed by Algerian law, so the girl was left 4 years without a name, and her father fought a long battle in the courts, until last July he got a sentence that allowed to give the girl the name Tanila.

Abdel Majid’s story, reported by The Economist, is similar to the stories of hundreds of families across the Arab world, as local laws prohibit the release of specific names on babies. Since the independence of the Arab countries, since then, each system of laws has been designed primarily to unify the sense of Arab nationalism among citizens, so foreign names or some of them were prohibited. For example, in 2014 Saudi Arabia issued a law banning the release of 51 names for babies, under the pretext that “they conflict with the culture of the Kingdom”. Some of these names are Western, some have a political character, and some have a religious character, all banned at the time, according to the Washington Post. American.

Among the forbidden names: Malak, Malika, Abdel-Ati, Abdel Nasser, Abdel-Musleh, Nabi, Amir, Samo, Linda, Eileen, The Kingdom, Maya, Randa, Tulane, Sandy, Basmala, Rital, Yara, Lorraine, Rama , Gabriel, A Statement and Benjamin.

In Tunisia, last January, activists released on social networks a photo of the municipality of Bizerte (north of the Tunisian capital), of a legal notice affixed to the Newborn Registration Authority wall. The warning confirms that some non-Arabic names are prohibited, in accordance with Tunisian law. Among these names, for example: Aline, Rostam, Majdoline, Rakal and Bayazid.
The law banning the registration of infants with non-Arabic names dates back to 1957, and was reiterated by the Ministry of the Interior in 2013.

Despite this, most municipalities ignore it and normally register foreign names. As a result of this reality, the authorities repealed this law last July and lifted the ban on foreign names for babies.

Tunisian authorities repealed the law banning Western names in July, decades after it was passed

Although most Arab countries have become tolerant of “unconventional” names, reactions to Western names for babies in official circles are not always pleasant.

These laws and traditions also spread to neighboring countries, Turkey, Iran and Armenia, and expand to reach New Zealand, the United States and China.

The Economist concludes its article by referring to an attempt by an Egyptian parliamentarian to propose a law banning all foreign names. But he retired after it was said that the wife of the then president, Mohamed Hosni Mubarak, was Suzanne.

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