No Improper Names Allowed!

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It’s 11.1.11! I wish you the best of the best of the best on this auspicious day my friends. Yes, we Bahrainis ARE numbers mad. Or just mad. Whichever makes you happy.

In that stream, here’s some hilarity for you, courtesy of the doyen of journalism and the protector of the National Honour™

PARENTS in Bahrain could soon be banned from giving their newborns names that are deemed unacceptable by the government.

The aim is to prevent children being ridiculed for having an “improper” name, which MPs believe could cause psychological strain.

Members of the Shura Council voted in favour of the proposal yesterday as they debated a draft law to protect the rights of children.

The vote means that all newborns’ names will have to be registered with the government, which would issue a birth certificate stating that the child’s name had been accepted.

Shura Councillors approved the relevant article in the child protection law, but did not discuss punishments for parents who choose “improper” names – or whether children will be able to take against their parents if they are unhappy with their name.

The article states that parents will not be able to select names that contradict religions or are likely to cause psychological problems for children.

GDN 11.1.11

ALL TOGETHER NOW… READY?

WTF!

No matter, let’s play a game – as this is 11.1.11 – and name a few names that you have come across in Bahrain that you think the government will think inappropriate.

While we’re at it, let’s consider the following respected Bahraini citizens and vote on the possibility of their names being sanctioned had they been born in this great country:

Khathlan Dabh Jalood Rowaili - خثلان ذبح جلود رويلي

and

Abed Ajham Anfoos Anfoos - عبد اجهم عنفوص عنفوص

For the record, my serious position on this is that this is a germane individual freedom issue and the government has no right to interfere in it. I hardly think that any person would name their child improperly, but if they do, then allowing the child to change that name to anything else s/he wishes should be made significantly easier. I know at least one person who change his name from “Sameer”, which he found frivolous and “light” to “Ahmed”. I rather like Sameer actually, much more than the plain Ahmed. But that’s me. I’m sure you came across many who changed their names for one reason or another too. Having the government poke their nose into this as well, is, well, improper.

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29 Comments
  • Geg
    11 January 2011

    Can you imagine how much I’ve suffered? The trauma endured and pain inflicted at being called Greg all the time.
    Now oddly, my Methodist mother wanted to name me after a Pakistani statesmen by the name of ‘Akbar Zib’ but I was too short.

    • Mayofspace
      11 January 2011

      So now it’s ‘Geg’? 😀

  • Bahrainiac
    11 January 2011

    This may be a dumb question but why is there a “NATIONALITY” section on the Bahrain Passport. Surely if you have a Bahrain Passport you are “Bahraini”?!?!? Then again, nothing like stating the obvious…

  • Fatima
    11 January 2011

    Just when you thought it couldn’t get any more ridiculous!!!

    I think that this is a personal matter !! It’s my child so it’s my choice !! I carried it for nine months I suffered the morning sickness and for God’s sake I’m the one who suffered the pain of being in labor !! SO WHO THE HELL ARE YOU TO TELL ME WHAT TO NAME MY CHILD !!!

    And btw “improper name” is a relative matter .. what I think of as improper another person will might think that it’s totally proper and normal.

    I just want to know how it’s going to be implemented!! Is there going to be a list to tick the name !! :p or we have to submit a proposal to the Government and wait for their kind approval !!

    Personally, I suggest that they name the child themselves as it will save us the trouble.. Every child born on the first of the month will be called Mohammed, second day of the month Abdullah, third day of the month Ahmed etc …. That way when a person introduces himself we will be able to tell his birthday!! I think it’s convenient!! Don’t you!!

    Just as i said.. What a ridiculous thing to think of and discuss in the council.. Totally deserve the four-figure salary they get !!

  • Anon
    11 January 2011

    Excuse me Mr.Lieutenant colonel, I think we have a population whom are upset and pin pointing at odd things in the plan!
    Any new strategy in mind?

    – Dont worry they’ll grow up and tell their children this story one day! Theyr all crazy, just get the thing done for me will ya?

  • Expat Brat
    11 January 2011

    Maybe they had heard of the American couple whose surname was “Daub” who christened their son Zippa Dedo.
    Or the Boon family who christened their son Basil Arthur . . .

  • ajax
    11 January 2011

    here we go.

    nanny state at work.

    just wait untail some day they gonna take our child from ‘us’ ,and raise them in our behalf

    oh no who said for free? it is the rest of your money they havn’t yet ripped off

  • Bahraini
    11 January 2011

    I think it is inappropriate the way you used the passports and the Identification Cards of those individuals just to prove a point. This is certainly an intrusion of privacy, and quite honestly childish behaviour.
    I am in no way or sort defending naturalization and the negative implications arising as a result, but I think targeting people and other human beings in this way is despicable.

    • mahmood
      12 January 2011

      Had I stolen those documents I would be the first to agree with you; however, they are available in the public domain in all search engines and as the names might be construed by some as “inappropriate” for Bahrain, they do demonstrate very well the point I was making in the article. Hence, they’re use was entirely appropriate.

      • Another Bahraini
        14 January 2011

        Mahmood, let’s be realistic here. If those documents were yours, I’m sure you won’t be comfortable with someone writing such an article and attaching them with it..

        The fact that its available in the public domain does not entitle you to use other people’s documents in such manner without their consent.

        At the end of the day, they are human beings who apparently moved from one country to another.. Let’s not forget that they are not the only ones who did just that at some point of their lives.

        • mahmood
          14 January 2011

          The fact remains: the documents are in the public domain and can legally and morally be used as one wishes. I reiterate, they very much serve the purpose of this article and demonstrate – to their favour that the government has no right in interfering in personal freedoms and naming of children.

          • anon
            16 January 2011

            Mahmood,
            I wish for once you admit doing something wrong.

            The use of those documents is entirely appropriate. The fact that they are in the public domain doesn’t make it morally right.

  • ajax
    12 January 2011

    o i see now!

    they gonna target

    abd …something(other then allah)….

    opps

  • Chiara
    12 January 2011

    The former MOI of Morocco, Driss Basri was responsible for a similar law–or “law” the status of the statute was ambiguous but widely believed to be a law and applied as such–in Morocco. The (in)famous “liste Basri” of acceptable Moroccan names included those that were acceptable and others not appearing there had to go through a special permission process.

    The law emphasized the Moroccanness of the names, and specifically prohibited using aristocratic titles as names (a common practice among the middle class) eg Moulay, Lala, Emir etc. Multiple names or multiple composites were prohibited beyond 2 names eg the first name Sidi Mohamed Yazid (a name among my acquaintances) would have been prohibited during the time of the law.

    The usual Islamic criteria of not giving a denigrating name like “Kalb” or one indicating subservience to a different religion’s iconic figures were applied.

    However, the real reason for the law was in the “Moroccanness” of the names which meant Arab names, and excluded Berber names–a political manoeuvre to obstruct rising Berber nationalism within the country’s substantive Berber population (substantive not even counting all the mixed people pretending they are pure Arab).

    I have no idea if there could be a similar political context to the naming law in Bahrain, but I was struck by the potential for one, based on my experience of the Moroccan Law in the late 1990’s and which continued to apply much later, even after the ouster of Basri a favourite of Hassan II, as one of the first acts of Mohamed VI when he took the throne on his father’s death in 1999.

    The law was (is?) applied by the local officials who register names including the embassies. The way around it was to delay registering the child’s birth for a number of months which required a different procedure and bypassed the local registry officials and essentially the “non-law”. That may have worked less well for Berbers than for others wanting to give names like “Sidi Mohamed Yazid”.

    The penalty for recalcitrant parents was that the child wouldn’t be registered: no national ID, and later no public school, no public health care, no driver’s licence, no passport, etc.

    Interesting post and topic! Sorry to be long.

    • ajax
      12 January 2011

      i believe the only thing prohibited now in bahrain is giving a child a multi-name

    • mahmood
      14 January 2011

      Many thanks for your point of view and input Chiara, be as long as you wish, most welcome!

      My friend Yacoub Slaise has similar and valid concerns about this latest move.

  • Tanya Degano
    13 January 2011

    Well, I already know of a Bahraini girl who the government did not allow to name her daughter “Rihanna” and instead decided on their own to call her Rayanna….

    • mahmood
      13 January 2011

      That would be ironic, as Rihanna is an Arabic word whose root is Basil! ريحان

      • Tanya Degano
        16 January 2011

        That’s exactly what she said! Didn’t seem to make a difference though…

        • mahmood
          16 January 2011

          I did a simple search and confirmed that one of the Prophet’s wives is called Rihanna bint Shamo’an bin Zaid, a Jew originally and apparently quite beautiful too that the Prophet got her as a prize of war and married her. Full story here: http://www.yabeyrouth.com/pages/index1276.htm

          So that makes me doubly confused as to why they refused the name… I mean, a wife of the Prophet for goodness sake!

  • Chiara
    14 January 2011

    Mahmood–thanks for your kind words. A couple of days ago while researching something else, I discovered that the Moroccan “law” is still being applied by local officials against Berber or Amazigh names. It took a major higher political intervention to have the naming in a recent case allowed.

    That is ironic about Rihanna–not such an American or Afro-Caribbean name after all. 😀

  • mahmood
    16 January 2011

    anon: I would readily admit when I’m incorrect, and grant you that I agree with your statement that use of some public domain material is not necessarily moral; however, in this case – although I respect your position – I honestly cannot find fault with using those scans to demonstrate the point of my article.

  • Omar bin Abdulaziz
    24 January 2011

    Listen, there will always be a chance (rare if it may be) that a name in one language might sound awkward in another.

    “Zib” as one of the readers pointed out is wrong in English. Let me just correct that. It’s not “Zib” but “Zaib”, which is pretty much Persian, and it means adornment.

    It’s like “Bandar” in Arabic means a monkey in Urdu.

    And “Anus” can be wrongly read or understood as “Anas”.

    In Islam, there is a simple logic. If a name doesn’t indicate partnership with Allah, it is perfectly OK.

    For that matter Abd ArRasool and Abd anyone else is wrong as it would mean slave of that person.

    Islam teaches to be subservient to one Allah alone and so Abdullah, Abdarrahman, etc.

    • mahmood
      24 January 2011

      Abdarrahman? What the hell is Abdarrahman when he’s at home? Showing your ignorance of even the most basic way of spelling common names in this country just demonstrates your own disconnect with this country. So why the horse and why the shouting? Looking for something little and red I wonder? As long as that’s not “Anus” of course.

      • Omar bin Abdulaziz
        24 January 2011

        lol Mahmood, see how it matters.

        You freaked out because I spelled the name in not “even the most basic way of spelling common names in this country”.

        And you rant about the news of improper names.

        I hope you get the point.

        By the way, I wrote it in the way it is pronounced Mahmoodo!!!

  • Omar bin Abdulaziz
    24 January 2011

    By the way, the people whose documents you have so shamelessly uploaded here should sue you in a court of law.

    How about someone doctoring your picture to that of a porn star, uploading it on the Internet, and then someone else lifting it up and say, well I got it from a public domain???

    Sounds like a plan doesn’t it???

  • Anonny
    24 January 2011

    “How about someone doctoring your picture to that of a porn star, uploading it on the Internet, and then someone else lifting it up and say, well I got it from a public domain???”

    I was wondering who the first person to get obscene on this comment thread would be … and there you go. Shows how your mind works.

    Land of the pure? Bullshit.

    “It’s like “Bandar” in Arabic means a monkey in Urdu.”

    So what does that matter? Why should Urdu words have any relevance in this region?

    • Omar bin Abdulaziz
      24 January 2011

      And who has asked you for a comment mate???
      And what obscenity do you see here.
      Do you need English lessons???

  • Anonny
    24 January 2011

    From me you got vulgarity. From you, obscenity. Learn the difference.

    Nobody needs to ask me for a comment. It’s Mahmood’s forum and he allows my comments or he does not. Who asked you for your childish insults? This thread is about names in the gulf and you started to talk about everything but that. Here’s an English lesson for you: try staying on topic and stop finishing a question with 3 question marks like a dizzy schoolgirl. Now sod off and evolve, Bandar.

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