Parents Fight French Authorities to Name Their Baby 'Jihad'
French authorities have declared war on a couple who wanted to name their newborn “Jihad.”
When the parents chose the controversial name for their son, who was born in August, officials in the Toulouse suburb of Léguevin alerted the public prosecutor, The Local of France reported.
The French Civil Code allows parents to name their offspring anything they please — unless it is against the interests of the child.
The country is on a heightened terror alert after a series of attacks by homegrown jihadists, so the prosecutor may decide to refer the case to family court, according to the news site.
But while the name might seem like a provocative choice, given its meaning of “holy war,” it literally translates to “effort” or “struggle.”
Jihad is a “fundamental concept in Islam,” meaning making “the effort to achieve good,” Aderrahmane Oumachar, co-founder of the Toulouse Centre of Muslim Spirituality, told the site.
Oumachar did acknowledge that given the current climate, the name could “cause misunderstanding” and “harm the development of the child.”
Other French babies have been named “Jihad” before.
In 2013, Bouchra Bagour sent her 3-year-old son Jihad to school wearing a sweater with the words “I am a bomb,” as well as his name and “Born on September 11th” on the back.
She was handed a suspended sentence for “glorifying a crime.”
French authorities also have put the kibosh on other names that were deemed to run afoul of the code, including the hazelnut spread “Nutella” and “Fraise,” which means strawberry.