Thursday, December 20, 2012


It's not an uncommon thing for parents to (wisely or unwisely) name their newborn after a celebrity, or even an event.  This happens, no doubt, all around the world.  In some cultures, the naming of the child is far more significant than in ours, for instance, where trends tend to push names rather than wisdom.   (The sort of trend that meant there were seven Michaels in one of my classes at school, back in the fifties.)

But you have to ask yourself why someone - a woman in France - would name their child, Jihad.  Was there some way in which she didn't realise the significance of this name?  Or was it just an attempt to fly in the face of the current cultural climate?   Perhaps there was intended to be some kind of humour in the naming.  We don't know.

What we do know is that the child's uncle bought him a long-sleeved t-shirt with the words, I am a bomb, on it, and he was sent to his nursery school wearing it.  On the back of the shirt were the words: Jihad, born on September 11. These words were actually true, in that the child was born on Sept 11th, 2009. 

His teacher alerted authorities about the words on the shirt, and the town's Mayor asked prosecutors to investigate.  His mother and uncle were charged with condoning a crime over the alleged reference to the Sept 11th attacks in New York.  The trial has been postponed until next March. 

Apparently, the mother was astonished at the reaction to her child's top, and seems to think the affair has mushroomed out of all proportion. 

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