After Tennessee, What's In A Name?

Should you really be naming all your sons Mohammad?

Jack Engelhard

OpEds Jack Engelhard
Jack Engelhard
צילום: מתוך האתר האישי

Jews revere Moses but we do not name all our kids Moses and most Christians are not named Jesus.

One reason we give people different names is so that we can tell them apart.

In the newsrooms where I worked when I asked for Mike, Mike appeared, just one, not a roomful. When I asked for Mary, Mary showed up, always delightful. I will admit that Sue posed a problem. There was a time when there was a run on that name, Sue, and when four of them arrived at once, well, nothing personal, but we knew we had to fix this.

People wise up. After a name becomes too popular, parents get creative. There has not been a Sue in any newsroom for the past 12 years.

So imagine the confusion of tongues if we all had the same name. This appears to be the trend within the Muslim community – a community, I wish to say at the start, that I accept as mostly law abiding. As long as you respect my faith, I respect yours, so let nothing that I say be taken disrespectfully.

You revere Mohammad above everybody else and that’s fine. But isn’t it time to rethink this business of naming nearly all your kids Mohammad?

Some day I will tell what it’s like reporting on a cabbie in Manhattan, even for a job well done, when all are named Mohammad. 

Waji, my Manhattan neighbor and occasional racetrack buddy, is himself a practicing Muslim but agrees that I may have a point.

“But get ready for some heat.” True. People like to misunderstand.

Waji has one daughter and three sons. He named none of them Mohammad.

Why not?

“No reason,” says Waji, whom readers met in “The Bathsheba Deadline” as Jay Garfield’s sidekick in Jay’s editorial war in favor of Israel and against Jihad. “It just never occurred to us,” says Waji who is still pleased and mortified to find himself featured in this book that Robert Spencer declared “A courageous and rousing thriller about clashing civilizations.”

Clashing civilizations, indeed.

Too many of our people are being killed and too many of the killers are named Mohammad.
The trouble with naming every kid Mohammad is that when something like Chattanooga, Tennessee comes along, as it did a few days ago, we wait for the killer’s name to be announced and we expect it to be Mohammad. Sure enough it was. It was Mohammad who murdered five of our Marines.

This is happening much too often. Too many of our people are being killed and too many of the killers are named Mohammad.

This causes trouble to the many people named Mohammad who are upstanding citizens.

It is for their sake that I wonder if this is such a good idea – the idea of naming every son Mohammad.

For our sake? Well, it would sure be nice if the entire killing can be stopped, all in the name of Mohammad.

Really now, he cannot be happy with what so many Mohammads are doing in his name. Can he?

Jack Engelhard writes a regular column for Arutz Sheva. New from the New York-based novelist, The Bathsheba Deadline, a newsroom thriller ripped from the headlines. Engelhard wrote the int’l bestseller Indecent Proposal that was translated into more than 22 languages and turned into a Paramount motion picture starring Robert Redford and Demi Moore. Website: