A couple in France should be celebrating the birth of their baby boy, but instead, they may be involved in a court battle for giving him the trendy name ‘Jihad’.
The baby, born in August in Toulouse, was named Jihad, as a surprising number of babies are today. When the birth was registered with the local town hall, the local authorities immediately alerted the public prosecutor to the provocative choice of name.
Until 1993, French law mandated that parents choose a name from a list of acceptable “prenoms” laid out by authorities. The new law states that a court can still ban names if they decide it is against the child’s best interests.
The name ‘Jihad’ tests the limits of this law. Jihad is an Arabic word described in some parts of the Koran as the internal spiritual struggle against sin. It’s meaning in the primary hadith’s of the Koran, though, means a violent struggle or fight against the enemies of Islam.
In a similar case in 2016, a couple was prevented from naming their son, Mohamed Merah, the name of a terrorist who killed seven people in Paris 2012.
The BBC reported that in 2013, a mother in Nimes was convicted of “glorifying a crime”. She was given a one-month suspended jail term and a $2,300 fine after sending her three-year-old little Jihad to school wearing a T-shirt with the printed statement, “I am a bomb”, and “Jihad, born on 11 September”.
In that case, the name was not offensive and had been accepted by authorities. The offense was generated by the T-shirt that referenced the 9/11 US attacks. This recent case may be an indication that the French are becoming more sensitized to Islamist violence. Since the start of 2015, Islamist militants have killed more than 230 people in France, where a state of emergency remains in force.