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Sorry, Sally—Your Name Could Be Illegal in Egypt Soon

You too, Mark and Sam.

The Egyptian Parliament has set up a meeting on Tuesday to discuss the banning of parents bearing their children with foreign names. Penalties of such action could go from 1,000 EGP to 5,000 EGP, or in some cases, jailtime for up to six months. No, that’s not extreme at all.

But this has nothing to do with radicalism or extremism. On the contrary, MP Bedier Abdel Aziz shows that it’s in the best interest of the mass if we stick to conventional Arab names, since names like Lara, Mark, and Sam are difficult or a nuisance to pronounce in the Egyptian accent. George will probably be okay, though, since it’s of Coptic heritage, regardless of the fact that in Egypt it’s pronounced Jorj.

However, the discussion on banning Western names is not only about pronunciation being a nuisance, but also a means to stick to our Egyptian roots and heritage.

“Using such Western names and abandoning Arabic ones will lead to an undesired and radical change in our society and culture. Our sons will no longer be connected to their true identity,” Abdel Aziz said, according to Egypt Independent.

Egyptians are perplexed and have taken to social media to express their indignation towards the new law:

Egypt is not the first country to propose such laws. Countries like Sweden and New Zealand have set laws to ban names that might cause discomfort to their children (such as Metallica and Ikea); Saudi Arabia, like Egypt, has banned 51 names that had any hint of foreign affiliation, such as Linda or Malak. Does this mark the beginning of uniformity in Egypt? Probably not. But it does make going to jail a lot easier now.

Main image taken from International Business Times


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