Egypt threatens to jail parents who give their children Western names such as Mark and Lara because ‘abandoning Arabic ones will radically change society.’
Egyptian authorities are considering a ban on parents giving their children “Western” names, and punishing offenders with jail.
Members of parliament in the African nation are in line to recommend a proposal to outlaw “foreign” names like “Mark”, “Lara” and “Sam”.
Advocates of the policy claim that a spread of American and European names in new generations will divorce Egyptians from their “true identity”.
Bedier Abel Aziz, one of Egypt’s 588 MPs, was due to put his proposal to parliament’s complaints and suggestions committee on Tuesday.
According to the Egypt Independent newspaper, ahead of the meeting he said:
“Using such Western names and abandoning Arabic ones will lead to an undesired and radical change in our society and culture.
“Our sons will no longer be connected to their true identity,”
Aziz also claimed that Western names can be hard to pronounce.
His suggested punishment for breaking the ban is a fine of up to $250 (more than a month’s salary on the minimum wage), or six months in prison
Egypt would not be alone in operating a ban on certain names. Saudi Arabia banned 50 names in 2014, including Linda, Sandy and Alice.
The draft law has however, been criticized by social media users who, citing it as a baseless matter that the Parliament should not discuss.
Meanwhile, one of the most common boys’ names in the United Kingdom is Muhammad.
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