You might be hard pressed to find a Mark or Sam in Egypt’s next generation.
An Egyptian parliament committee is set to meet on Tuesday to discuss a law that could ban parents from giving their children “western names.”
Under the new law, a fine of up to $270 or a jail term up to six months could be imposed on violators.
The proposed law was put forward by MP Bedier Abdel Aziz, who said that Western names could lead to a “radical” change in society.
“Using such Western names and abandoning Arabic ones will lead to an undesired and radical change in our society and culture,” said Aziz to news outlet The Egypt Independent.
He also added that names like Mark, Sam, and Lara were pretty hard for Arabs to pronounce.
But Egyptians on social media were quick to scoff at the idea.
“Names like Mohammed, Mahmoud, and Ahmed are foreign names. Only native Egyptian names, currently used by the Copts would technically qualify. Is that what you really want?” asked one user.
“I really can’t believe that parliament has nothing better to do,” another said.
“People can’t feed their families and (they) have time to discuss the ban of Western names? Seriously?” one user added.
In 2014, Saudi Arabia banned a list of 50 names that it said “contradicted” their culture or religion. Those forbidden names include common ones such as Linda, Alice, and Elaine.