My Favorite Arabic and Muslim Names

Two ethnic Uighur women pass Chinese par

I read this article from the New York Times today about how China is prohibiting certain traditionally Muslim names from being used in the western region of Xinjiang, home to more than 10 million Uighurs, a mostly Muslim minority group.

This list of banned named, straightforwardly entitled “List of Banned Ethnic Minority Names” is part of an effort to “curb religious fervor” and combat what officials describe as religious extremism.  Other efforts have included bans on long beards and veils in public places.

Some security officials in Urumqi and other cities in Xinjiang said in interviews that if residents did not comply, they risked forfeiting critical benefits for their children, including education and health care.
Understandably, many Uighurs say the government’s strict limits on worship and speech are responsible for tensions in the region.

So that’s the summary. And it’s a vast infringement on civil liberty, honestly.  As a name nerd and also someone with a tendency to get politically fired up who gives a damn about human rights and equality, this really upsets me.

It’s bad enough that in the US children with obviously Muslim names are in danger of being mocked and called ‘terrorists’ (let’s not go into all of the acts of terrorism perpetrated by white men against minority groups over the past few years- honestly terrorists are more likely to be called Bill than Mujahid at this point), but can you imagine not having the freedom to name your own child in accordance with your own religious tradition and heritage?

Recognizing these names as beautiful names and pieces of a beautiful culture, just like any other name in the world (excepting maybe Nevaeh etc.) is so important. So in that spirit, here are my favorite Arabic and Muslim names.

For Boys:

Qassim
Tariq
Suleiman
Faisal
Bashir
Amir
Azlan
Idris
Haroun
Aziz

 

For Girls:

Fatima
Mahala
Aziza
Nazira
Zafira
Mariam
Haniya
Imani
Leila
Nour
Alaia

 

And soooooooo many more.

By the way, my spotty posting will be continuing for the next week due to reading period and finals! Wish me luck and success and genius and brilliance and a happy finale to my four years of college! (Please)

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