Chinese authorities have banned Islamic baby names in the country’s largest Muslim province, as part of a crackdown on alleged “extremism” that monitors say restricts fundamental rights.
A document entitled “Naming Rules for Ethnic Minorities” prohibits names used by Muslim parents around the world including Imam, Hajj, Islam, Quran, Saddam, Medina and Islam, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported.
It applies to the Muslim-majority province of Xinjiang, where the Communist Party has been imposing ever tighter restrictions on religion in what it claims is a battle against “extremism”, amid a separatist uprising by Uyghur rebels.
Any babies with “overly religious” names will be barred from the hukou household registration system governing access to healthcare and education, a police official in the regional capital of Urumqi told RFA, which was founded by the US government and advances its foreign policy.
“You’re not allowed to give names with a strong religious flavour, such as Jihad or names like that,” he added.
“The most important thing here is the connotations of the name… [It mustn’t have] connotations of holy war or of separatism.”