Germans angered over name ruling, misunderstanding culture

Germans angered over name ruling, misunderstanding culture

Germans are becoming increasingly agitated over a court ruling that has allowed an Egyptian-born citizen to name his son Djehad, highlighting what many back in Egypt believe is the growing Islamophobia of European society. Making matters worse, in Germans’ minds is the fact that they will be forced to pay the tens of thousands of Euros Reda Seyam’s court fees cost in winning the case.

A court in Berlin argued that the child could be named Djehad because it was an “accepted Arabic first name term.”

According to London’s The Guardian newspaper, “Germany has some of the strictest rules in the world governing the naming of children.” The report that detailed Germany’s anger over allowing the name to stand, said that parents who choose fancy or “non-gender specific names often find their choices rejected by authorities.”

The Egyptian-born 49-year-old spent three years fighting the Berlin municipal authorities decision to bar him from naming his son Djehad. The costs of that battle now fall upon the taxpayers and they are not too pleased with the situation.

The Guardian alleges that Syeam is a “fanatic” who is against the West, human rights laws, womens rights and democracy. According to the report, German security has been watching the Egyptian for a number of years and has regarded him as being the “string-puller” in the 2002 Bali, Indonesia attacks that left 200 people dead, mostly Australian tourists.

“This is absurd that it had to go to court for Germans to understand what an Arabic name is. Their prejudice is too much sometimes,” said Omar Hamza, an Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood member who has traveled widely throughout Europe. “They think that Gihad [Jihad] is a dangerous name, but they should research and understand the many different meanings before accusing someone of being a terrorist.”

Arabic instructor Sherif al-Habiby is well-versed in the language and said that a lot of Arabic names are coming under attack in recent times because people don’t understand the true meaning or the fact that someone in al-Qaida has the same name.

“Ossama is a very popular name, but in the West it is thought of as a terrorist name. Same for things like Saddam. What needs to happen is a dialogue and a cultural discussion that will get people to understand what is going on,” he argued.

Following the murder of Marwa el-Sherbini in a Dresden court on July 1, Germany has been in the spotlight over the rising racism perceived toward Arabs and Muslims. Coupled with Seyam’s naming controversy, Egyptians appear fed up.

“What are we supposed to do now, let our culture go to rubbish. We really need to sort these things out and do it fast,” added Hamza.