because ‘abandoning Arabic ones will radically change society’
Mark, Lara and Sam given as examples of Western names by MP Bedier Abdel Aziz
His draft law could mean parents get £220 fine or 6 months in jail for disobeying
He said using non-Arabic names disconnects ‘our sons’ from their ‘true identity’
By Iain Burns
Parents in Egypt could soon be sentenced to six months in jail for giving their children ‘Western’ names such as ‘Mark’, ‘Lara’ and ‘Sam’.
A draft law banning the use of ‘foreign names’ was introduced by MP Bedier Abdel Aziz and discussed by his country’s parliament yesterday.
Abdel Aziz said the punishment for disobeying the law should be a fine of between about £40 and £220 or a maximum jail sentence of six months.
‘Using such Western names and abandoning Arabic ones will lead to an undesired and radical change in our society and culture,’ he was reported as saying in The Egypt Independent.
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Abdel Aziz put the draft law to the Egyptian parliament. Pictured: A stock image of the country’s parliament
He added: ‘Our sons will no longer be connected to their true identity,’
The MP also said that non-Arabic names are difficult for Egyptians to pronounce.
The proposal was met with scorn on social media, with many suggesting it was an extremely trivial matter not worthy of discussion in parliament.
Parents could face up to six months in prison if the proposal is made into law
Writing on the Egypt Independent Facebook page, Nadine Niedt said: ‘People can’t feed their families and this helpless freaks have time to discuss the ban of Western names? Seriously?’
Another, Margaret El Ansari, said: ‘There is definately [sic] a lot more pressing matters that need to be addressed than what name you call your child!’
Walaa Saad, meanwhile, simply wrote: ‘Backward thinking!’