The government of China has banned parents from choosing names like “Muhammad,” “Arafat”, “Jihad” and many more for their children.
They drafted a list of “overly religious” names banned in western Xinjiang province, home to the nation’s Uighur Muslim ethnic minority. The list also includes names such as “Imam.”
According to Radio Free Asia (RFA), the initiative is meant to diminish the public profile of religion, particularly Islam, in the region.
The communist Chinese government has long considered religion a threat to its dominance and has,
in recent years, imposed a series of initiatives to limit Islamic practices, in particular, in response to a series of terrorist attacks in Xinjiang and threats from outside jihadist groups like the Islamic State.
RFA lists “Islam, Quran, Mecca, Jihad, Imam, Saddam, Hajj, and Medina” among the names in the document, titled “Naming Rules for Ethnic Minorities.”
The New York Times, which reports that the list includes “more than two dozen names,” adds “Mujahid,” “Arafat,” and “Muhammad” to that list.
Anyone with such names will be banned from officially registering with the government, which excludes them from, among other things, public education and denies them the legal documents necessary to find work and generally participate in society.