List comes after new rules prohibit ‘abnormal beards’ and wearing the face veil in public.
Chinese authorities have banned Islamic baby names in the country’s largest Muslim province, as part of a crackdown on alleged “extremism” that monitors say restricts fundamental rights.
A document entitled “Naming Rules for Ethnic Minorities” prohibits names used by Muslim parents around the world including Imam, Hajj, Islam, Quran, Saddam, Medina and Islam, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported.
Any babies with “overly religious” names will be barred from the hukou household registration system governing access to healthcare and education, a police official in the regional capital of Urumqi told RFA, which was founded by the US government and advances its foreign policy.
Human Rights Watch said the latest “absurd” prohibition was part of a slew of new regulations “restricting religious freedom in the name of countering ‘extremism’.
“These policies are blatant violations of domestic and international protections on the rights to freedom of belief and expression,” said China director Sophie Richardson.
Islam, Quran, Mecca, Jihad, Imam, Saddam, Hajj, and Medina are among dozens of baby names banned under ruling Chinese Communist Party’s “Naming Rules For Ethnic Minorities,” an official was quoted as saying by Radio Free Asia.
A full list of names has not yet been published and it is unclear exactly what qualifies as a religious name, it said.