China officially bans religious names for Muslim babies in Xinjiang


China has released a list of banned Islamic names in the western region of Xinjiang as part of the ongoing crackdown against religion, The Guardian reported on Wednesday.

The Muslim couples in the country will now have to choose names for their children wisely or else they won’t get registered as a household in China.

The list includes names such as Islam, Quran, Saddam, Makkah, all considered unacceptable by the ruling Communist Party and any children having any of these names will not have access to social services, healthcare or education.

The ban has been promulgated in a part of Xinjiang which houses half of China’s 23 million Muslims.

An official speaking to the Radio Free Asia about the name ban said: “Just stick to the party line, and you’ll be fine.”

“[People with banned names] won’t be able to get a household registration, so they will find out from the office when the time comes.”

China has time and again blamed religious extremism for the violence in recent years that has killed hundreds of people. Trying to curb the situation, the authorities launched crackdowns in Xinjiang which is home to Uighur’s Muslim minority group.


The rights groups based in the province say the attacks were not part of the globally coordinated extremist movement but isolated incidents fueled by grievances of Muslims. Men in the region are restricted from growing beards and women are not allowed to observe the face veil.

Human Rights campaigners have also condemned the latest ban on the Muslims names.

“This is just the latest in a slew of new regulations restricting religious freedom in the name of countering religious extremism,” said China director at Human Rights Watch Sophie Richardson. “These policies are blatant violations of domestic and international protections on the rights to freedom of belief and expression.”

“If the government is serious about bringing stability and harmony to the region as it claims, it should roll back – not double down on – repressive policies.”


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