We have previously discussed how some European countries limit the names that can be given to chidren, including some with approved lists of names. We have seen such controversies arise in this country with children, for example, named after Adolph Hitler. However, this generally remains a protected right of parents in the United States. The latest case comes out of France where a court will decide whether a Muslim family can use the name of Mohamed Merah, an Islamic radical who killed seven people in 2012.
Nice authorities were informed of the name controversy this month. Merah is a radical Islamic terrorist who murdered seven people in attacks on a Jewish school and French paratroopers in the southwestern Toulouse region.
Nice mayor Philippe Pradel and regional president Christian Estrosi declared that the use of a terrorist’s name “may be contrary to the child’s interest.” It is not clear if this was an intentional naming of the child after the terrorist or simply the use of a name that appealed to the parents.
Merah, 23, killed three French paratroopers, three Jewish schoolchildren and a rabbi in an effort to “bring France to its knees.”
As truly offensive as I find this name (and cannot imagine saddling a baby with the name of a murderer like Merah), I still view such decisions as properly left to the parents.
What do you think?