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Toddler Named ‘Jihad’ Lands His Mom in Hot Water — and on Trial

Handcuffs

When irresponsibly foolish baby names lead to legal consequences

There are wacky baby names, and then there are downright dangerous baby names. Well, there’s at least one dangerous name.

A mom in France gave birth to a son on Sept. 11, 2009, and named him Jihad, which is a term used to refer to a struggle or a holy war waged on behalf of Islam as a religious duty.

The BBC reports that the Moroccan-born Bouchra Bagour, 35, sent her son to school near Avignon, France, in a t-shirt, which was a gift from his uncle, that said “Jihad” on the front and “Born on Sept. 11″ on the back.

For obvious reasons, young Jihad’s teacher was alarmed at the shirt and notified school district authorities. The incident also got the attention of the town’s mayor, Thierry Lagneau, who said, “I didn’t know what was behind it, but we could not let that go. We have to impose limits.”

Bagour and the boy’s uncle were ultimately charged with “glorifying crime.”

“It’s the day his birth I wanted to highlight, not the year,” the uncle, Zeyad Bagour, told the court.

However, the prosecutors have alleged it’s a “direct and scandalous allusion to terrorism.”

The trial comes at a time that The Washington Post says is fractured between France’s 8 percent Muslim minority and the rest of the country’s 65 million residents, “who recognize their roots in an ancient Christian tradition.”

This isn’t the first time there has been a legal showdown over baby names. A few months ago a girl in Iceland had to go to court to win the right to use the moniker her parents bestowed on her at birth, which was on a banned list in that country. Parents in New Jersey who named their son Adolf Hitler lost custody of him as a direct result. And recently, although it didn’t involve the police, parents named their newborn daughter Hashtag, which is in reference the Twitter term — and that lead many to call the mom and dad #foolish.

Photo credit: iStock

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Follow Meredith on Twitter and check out her weekly column every Friday on the Op-Ed page of The Denver Post at MeredithCarroll.com

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