When prospective parents deliberate over baby names – a joyful, private discussion – they tend to make decisions based on hopes for the child, passing on a family name, or some other tradition. Few would ever dream of having to consult a list of banned names – but this is the latest absurd restriction that the Chinese government has imposed on people in Xinjiang region, home to 10 million Muslim Uyghurs.
According to media reports, Xinjiang authorities have recently banned dozens of names with religious connotations common to Muslims around the world, such as Saddam and Medina, on the basis that they could “exaggerate religious fervor.” Children with banned names will not be able to obtain a “hukou,” or household registration, essential for accessing public school and other social services.
This is just the latest in a slew of new regulations restricting religious freedom in the name of countering “religious extremism.” On …
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