UK: Muslims adopting British names

Thousands of new immigrants, mostly Muslims, are adopting British names to avoid discrimination and fit in society.

"We saw a lot of Muslims change their names after the 9/11 attacks, but in the past few years it's become much more widespread," Mike Barratt, chief executive of the UK Deed Poll Service, told The Times on Sunday on January 20.

Names such as Karim and Mohammad are being changed to Kevin and Michael, while Abdullah Elfayoumi became Abdullah O'Fayoumi.

"We're seeing a 20% increase, year-on-year," said Barrat whose company is one of the country's most popular and legally authorized companies that process online documents.

The name changing trend is not only limited to Muslims and Arabs.

Indians bearing the surname Shital prefer to be known as Sheet and Chinese have anglicized their names by adding prefixes such as John, Jason and Sue.

In Ireland, public records show many immigrants have added a Celtic flavor to their names like Brit and Eimher.

A Deed Poll is a form of legal contract that only concerns one person. A Deed Poll binds the person who signs it to a particular course of action as detailed on the Deed Poll document.

One of its forms is a Deed of Change of Name, which contains three declarations and by executing the Deed Poll one is committing him/herself to abandoning the use of their former name; using their new name only at all times; and requiring all persons to refer to them by their new name only.

According to The Times, about 70,000 people will change their name this year using either the UK Deed Poll Service or the Name Change Company, two of the most popular companies providing such services in Britain.

In 2001, it was fewer than 20,000.

Trouble Names

Many change their often mispronounced and misspelled names to spare themselves the agony of mix-ups in official documents.

Javaid Iqbal, a seven-year-old boy, was thrilled when his mother Naushaba Nadeem, a 35-year-old doctor, decided to take him on a US trip after doing well in school.

Airport officials at their hometown Manchester told her that Javaid shares his name with a Pakistani deported from the US two months after the 9/11 terror attacks.

Flying home from Philadelphia, the computers flagged up the schoolboy's name twice.

His passport was stamped with a sticker saying he has undergone high-level security checks.

The parents, who moved to Britain from Saudi Arabia in 2002, said they were considering to change their son's name to avoid future ordeals.

Britain's first and only Muslim minister was singled out by the security officers at Dulles Airport in Washington last year.

Shahid Malik, Britain's international development minister, was detained for about 40 minutes and his hand luggage was tested for traces of explosives.

Britain is home to a sizable multi-ethnic Muslim minority of nearly 2 million, mostly of Indian, Pakistani and Bengali backgrounds.

A recent Financial Times opinion poll showed Britain was the most suspicious nation about Muslims.

Source: Islam Online (English)


Anonymous said...

Although they article has a very negative focus, it is actualy a very positive sign. It's shows there are actual muslims who want to appear very Western, instead of showing of how Muslim they are. They want to blend in, thus I guess this are not the same people who want to wear Muslim style cloth, beards and force their wifes to wear the Muslim submision gadgets.

Esther said...

It's the growing pains of integration. That's why Islam Online has a very negative focus about it.

Anonymous said...

I did the opposite. When i converted to Islam, i actually changed my name by Deed Poll to a more Muslim name.

Anonymous said...

That's the point, you intergrated into the Islamic idiology thus you also want to look and sound like them. I thus would advice you to emigrate to a Muslim country, this will complete you're intergration. Only then you can enjoy all parts of Muslim life.

Anonymous said...

wahhh. yes. ignorance!

it beautiful.

a name has NOTHING to do with ANYTHING..,

are all Mr. Smiths and John Does Christians?
Do you look for a Jew named Katz?
or only Muslims and Arabs?

my name is Christian but yet, i believe in Islam (among other things)

does that mean i would be a safe Muslim? because my name is "Normal?" what IS normal?

(p.s. im only 16, a white male living in the United States.)

Alex Wilson said...

The Legal Deed Service – What’s In A Name?

We used to grin and bear the name our parents burdened us with, whether that was Carrie Oakey or Jean Poole. It has been possible to change names by deed poll since 1760 but a decade ago, only 15,000 people did so each year. Now, spurred on by separations, pub pranks and thanks to the innovative online deed poll service,, more people than ever are doing so.

As any school-age Hieronymus, Orlando or Guinevere will attest, having an unusual name is not the surest route to popularity in the playground. For example, imagine yourself a young boy growing up in the tough American mid-west and your parents saw fit to name you Marion Morrison. You might be forgiven for wishing that your parents had perhaps chosen a name a little less feminine. However, in 1930 Marion took matters into his own hands, changed his name and became the epitome of ruggedness and masculinity that made him an enduring icon. He became better known as John Wayne.

In the UK it is possible to change your name at anytime and as often as you wish, so long as the desired name isn’t intended to deceive or can be construed to be offensive or blasphemous. You must use a Deed Poll to officially change your legal name you execute it by signing it in the presence of a witness. The witness can be anyone, but not a member of your own family, and once you have executed the Deed, your name is officially changed.

Jamie Jackson, CEO of The Legal Deed Service says: “There are many reasons why people decide to change a name by Deed Poll, for example, a couple may decide to have a double-barrelled surname when they marry, people of foreign extraction living in the UK may wish to anglicise their name to make it easier for others to pronounce, or simply for novelty, some people choose to change their name to a 'fun name' such as James Bond. However, our clients can rest assured safe in the knowledge that all relevant employees deployed within our organisation have undergone extensive training and thus fully understand the law pertaining to a change of name.”

So for anyone who fancies a change of identity, they can simply log on to, and with a couple of clicks they can set the wheels in motion, and if after a few months, the name loses its appeal, change it again.

Anonymous said...

"Thousands of new immigrants, mostly Muslims, are adopting British names to avoid discrimination and fit in society."

What about adopting Freedom of Expression values? hum?