New Delhi, April 25: China on Tuesday banned many Islamic names for babies who would be born in the Muslim majority region of Xinjiang. Violation of the move will prevent children from getting benefits from the government, including education. The authorities of Xinjiang recently banned such names to avoid “exaggerate religious fervour,” said Human Rights Watch (HRW).

Children whose names are now banned will be kept away from obtaining ‘hukou’. It is necessary for getting access to public school or social services.The new measures are part of China’s fight against terrorism in this troubled region, home to 10 million Muslim Uyghur ethnic minority.

List of Muslim Names banned by China:

  • Saddam
  • Jihad
  • Islam
  • Quran
  • Mecca
  • Jihad
  • Imam
  • Saddam
  • Hajj
  • Medina

This is the latest in a slew of new regulations restricting religious freedom in the name of countering “religious extremism,” the HRW said. Conflicts between the Uyghur and the Han, the majority ethnic group in China who also control the government, are common in Xinjiang.

A full list of names banned has not yet been released and it is highly unclear exactly what qualifies as a religious name. Authorities of Xinjiang also banned adhering weird beards or veild in public places. It also impose severe punishments for not watching state TV or radio programmes.

These policies are blatant violations of domestic and international protections on the rights to freedom of belief and expression, the HRW said. Punishments also appear to be increasing for officials in Xinjiang who are deemed to be too lenient.

In January, the authorities imposed a “serious warning” on an official for complaining to his wife through a messaging app about government policies.

A full list of names has not yet been published and it is unclear exactly what qualifies as a religious name, it said.

On April 1, Xinjiang authorities imposed new rules prohibiting the wearing of “abnormal” beards or veils in public places, and imposing punishments for refusing to watch state TV or radio programmes.

These policies are blatant violations of domestic and international protections on the rights to freedom of belief and expression, the HRW said.

(With PTI Inputs)