Did Saudi Arabia really ban 51 baby names recently? I’m not sure.
Last week, the country’s Civil Affairs Department supposedly released a list of 51 unacceptable baby names — names that were either “not in line with social traditions,” “not appropriate in terms of religion,” or of Western origin.*
Over the weekend, though, a spokesperson from the Civil Affairs Department said that, while the department does regulate baby names, it didn’t release the list in question.
Here are the 51 (possibly) banned baby names:
Malak (“angel” in Arabic)
Abdul Nasser (“servant of the helper” in Arabic)
Emir (“prince” in Arabic)
Al-Mamlaka (“the kingdom” in Arabic)
Malika (“queen” in Arabic)
Mamlaka (“kingdom” in Arabic)
Basmalah (“in the name of God” in Arabic)
Rama (“pleasing” in Sanskrit; Hindu god)
Binyameen (Arabic form of Benjamin)
Abdul Rasool (“servant of the messenger” in Arabic)
Jibreel (Arabic form of Gabriel)
*The Gulf News believes some of the names were included for political reasons — Abdul Nasser because of Egypt’s second president Gamal Abdel Nasser, for instance, and Binyamin because of Israeli’s current prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.