Jordan rejects ban on Osama, Saddam names
Jordan's parliament rejected a bill Wednesday that would enable the government to prevent parents from naming their children Osama bin Laden or Saddam Hussein.
By a vote of 50-38, legislators turned down the proposed amendment to the Civic Status Law, which would have empowered registration officers to reject names that they deem "harmful to public order."
An Islamist lawmaker, Mohammed Abu-Faris, said the bill had been proposed "to please the Americans."
"Only the parents have the right to name their newborns and nobody else," Abu-Faris told the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of parliament.
In Jordan, the fashion in names is often influenced by political events. When relations were improving with Israel, before the Palestinian uprising revived in 2000, some Jordanians named their children after Israeli leaders such as Ariel Sharon, Benjamin Netanyahu and the late Yitzhak Rabin.
Although the amendment does not mention the names specifically, the government made clear in the parliamentary debate the names of al-Qaida leader bin Laden or Saddam, the ousted Iraqi dictator, would not be permitted.
It was the second time the government has tried to pass the bill.
The upper house of parliament — the Senate, whose 55 members are appointed by the king — is expected to vote on the bill next month. Previously it has supported the amendment.
If the Senate again votes in favor of the amendment, the bill will go to a joint session with the Chamber of Deputies, where it would pass if it receives two-thirds of the vote.