Baby name trends rarely create controversy. But when Mohammed was recently declared the #1 boys’ name in Britain, some folks were outraged that a traditionally Muslim name beat out classics like Jack and Harry.
On “Real Time with Bill Maher,” the comedian said he was “alarmed” by the baby-naming trend. Why exactly?
“Am I a racist to feel alarmed by that?” Maher asks his guests. “Because I am. And it’s not because of the race, it’s because of the religion. I don’t have to apologize, do I, for not wanting the Western world to be taken over by Islam in 300 years?”
According to The Daily Mail, counting all of the various spellings of Mohammed, it has become the most popular name for newborn boys in Britain.
Jack had ranked at the top of the list for the past 14 year, but is now #3 following Mohammed and Oliver. Harry and Alfie round out the top 5.
The official list ranking names of all births in England and Wales in 2009 ranked Mohammed at number 16. But that list didn’t take into consideration the various spellings of Mohammed (which are all ranked separately).
Counting the 12 variations of the name, a total of 7,549 newborns were given Islamic prophet Mohammed’s name last year. Alternative spellings (in order of popularity) are: Muhammad, Mohammad, Muhammed, Mohamed, Mohamad, Muhamed, Mohammod, Mahamed, Muhamad, Mahammed and Mohmmed.
Mohammed has been steadily growing in popularity. Since 1999 the number of babies called Mohammed (including various spellings) has jumped by more than 50% (in 1999, only 4,579 newborns in England were named Mohammed).
Clearly, the increased popularity is linked to the population change in England. But I see no reason to be alarmed by the popularity of the name Mohammed. Are you alarmed by the baby naming trend?
And do you think Mohammed will catch on as a name in the U.S.? In 2009, Mohammed ranked as the # 643 on the Social Security baby names index for boys (taking into account only one spelling of the name).