A couple in France could be facing a legal battle after attempting to name their newborn son “Jihad.”
The town hall in Léguevin, outside the southern city of Toulouse, reported the name to the public prosecutor after the couple tried to register the Arabic name for their baby, who was born on Aug. 2.
“Jihad,”often translated as “holy war,” is associated with Islamic terrorists’ fight against non-Muslims. The Merriam–Webster dictionary also says it can be translated as “a personal struggle in devotion to Islam.”
Naming a baby Jihad could trigger Article 57 of the French civil code, which says that parents have to choose a name that is in the best interest of their child.
If they do not, as per the town clerk’s discretion, they must inform the public prosecutor.
The name is likely to cause controversy in France, given the series of Islamic terrorist attacks by jihadis in recent years.
The U.S. State Department issued a travel alert to Americans going to Europe in May of 2016, saying there was a risk of terrorist attacks on the continent, particularly during the European Soccer Championship held in Paris between June and July.
On Nov. 13, 2015, Paris was paralyzed after gunfire and bombs around the city killed 130 people. The attacks were later claimed by the ISIS terrorist group. Earlier that year, terrorists with allegiances to an al-Qaeda affiliate made their way into the offices of satirical newspaper “Charlie Hebdo” and killed 12 people.
Earlier this month, a man yelling “God is great” in Arabic attacked and killed two women at a train station in the French port city of Marseille. ISIS also claimed responsibility for that attack.
Given the context of Jihad in France, a judge in France could decide bar the parents from using the name, and even choose one for them, Toulouse-based lawyer Jonathan Bomstain told Actu.fr.
“He/she does it for the sake of the child,” he explained.
And there is a precedent for this. Names like Nutella, Mini Cooper, and Fraise (strawberry) have all been banned. French courts even banned the dog names “Itler” and “Iva,” saying they sounded too much like Adolf Hitler and his partner Eva Braun.
However, this isn’t the first case of a child being named Jihad.
In 2013, a mother in the city of Nimes made headlines for sending her 3-year-old son named Jihad to school with a shirt that read “I am a bomb” on the front, and “Born on September 11th” on the back.
The mother was given a one-month suspended jail sentence and the uncle, who bought the sweater, a 4,000 euro fine and 2-month jail sentence for “glorifying a crime.”