Rise in babies named Osama

BANGKOK (AFP): The name Osama has become popular for newborn babies in Thailand’s predominantly Muslim south since the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States, officials said today. “The name Osama can be applied to both boys and girls, and to my knowledge there are many newborn babies [receiving this name],” said Irfan Sulong, a member of the Yala Provincial Administration Organization. “I think it is in line with a trend.” Irfan said the names of other prominent anti-US Muslim figures such as Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and Libyan leader Moammar Qadhafi are also popular among parents choosing names for their offspring. “After [the babies] have been named, they will keep that name until they die,” he added. Many Thai Muslims have deplored the US-led strikes against Afghanistan, holding peaceful demonstrations at the US embassy in Bangkok and calling for a boycott of US- and allied-made goods. Muslims make up just 4% of Thailand’s predominantly Buddhist population of 62 million. Most live in the five southern provinces bordering Malaysia.

Phuket News

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