A French couple from the south west have been reported to authorities for calling their baby ‘Jihad’.
The couple, who come from the Toulouse suburb of Léguevin, tried to name their son ‘Jihad’ when he was born in August but the local town hall immediately alerted the public prosecutor to their controversial choice of name, The Local of France reported.
“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 country is on a heightened terror alert after a series of attacks by homegrown jihadists, so the prosecutor may decide to refer the case to family court, according to the news site.
But while the name might seem like a provocative choice, given its meaning of “holy war,” it literally translates to “effort” or “struggle.”
Jihad is a “fundamental concept in Islam,” meaning making “the effort to achieve good,” Aderrahmane Oumachar, co-founder of the Toulouse Centre of Muslim Spirituality, told the site.
Oumachar did acknowledge that given the current climate, the name could “cause misunderstanding” and “harm the development of the child.”
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.”