On Aug. 22, the Egyptian parliament unveiled a new measure that outlaws unusual and complex birth names throughout the nation. According to Al Arabiya, anyone who breaks this new regulation will be subject to penalties that could include a sizable fine and incarceration.
Therefore, parliamentarian Hisham Al-Jahl called for amending some provisions of the Civil Status Law, prohibiting strange names for newborns. With that being said, the members of the House of Representatives indicated that the law aims to increase the penalty to reach imprisonment for a period of no less than one year, and a fine of no less than 5,000 Egyptian pounds, instead of the old penalty, which is a fine of no less than 100 pounds and not more than 200 pounds. Law No. 143 of 1994 on civil status and amended in 2018 bans three types of names that include: names that violate public order, names that bear insults, and compound names that offend Islamic teachings.
To get more insight into this new law, we spoke to Khalid El Gamal, a Preacher at the Egyptian Ministry of Endowments. He claimed that names such “Eblis” or Lucifer should be banned as it is the literal meaning of the devil, which is not allowed to be used as a person’s name in Islam. Also prohibited are names like “Lara, Yara, Rama, Maya, Renad, and Remas.” However, the significance of these names is unknown because no clear justification was given by any sources yet.
El Gamal added that names are very important to us and it is part of the parent’s duty to give their children appropriate names as they will live with them their entire lives.
Regarding the reactions, some people opposed the concept behind the law because they believed that the parliament should be concentrating on other initiatives and sectors that require improved planning and infrastructure for the future. Even though this news generates a variety of debates, particularly on social media, reactions tend to occur more quickly than you might expect.