France: 2nd generation immigrants reject French names

They are born in France and called Louis, Laurent or Marie but they want to become Abdel, Said or Rachida. Such requests from immigrants' children for name changes are mounting in the French courts and worrying a state that lays store on melding a single national culture.

In a sign of a new assertiveness, children with families from Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco are reversing the old custom in which immigrants from the old colonies gave French names to their children.

Driven by a feeling that they do not belong to their Gallic Christian names, the applicants are meeting resistance from judges who are reluctant to endorse what they see as a rejection of France.

Under France's strict administrative laws, an official change of first name requires court consent. Until 1992 parents could only register their babies with names from an approved list.

"The way I look is out of sync with my name," said Jacques, 25, who wants to adopt a name from his parents' native Algeria. He rejected the standard view that a French name overcomes the persisting reluctance of French employers to recruit nonwhite minorities.

"There is a double-take when I send a job application and then turn up for the interview. They hesitate, as if the person they have summoned could not be me," he said.


Source: Times (English), h/t Weasel Zippers

1 comment:

Joachim Martillo said...

I have to admit puzzlement at this article.

I have a few directories of French Jews and checked out commonly used names.

I found in addition to common French names Israel, Moshe, Meyer, Gavriel, Hillel, Elie, Abraham, Yosef Yitzhak, Menahem Mendel, Meir, Shimon, Shmuel, Gaddy, Aharon, Yaacov, Nissim, Mordechai, Daniel, Yehuda, etc. (I know that Israel is not the standard Hebrew pronunciation, but I believe the Syrian Jewish pronunciation of Hebrew tended to render the name as Israel. In any case, it is not a common name among French non-Jews.)

Such names were not the majority, but they were a strong minority, and some suggest Lubavitch influence.

I would guess that the situation is not much different among French Muslims.