Would anyone but Muslims give warlike names to their children?
by Sheila Musaji
An article titled Would You Name Your Kid “Sword”? by Harold Rhode was published on the neo-con Gatestone Institute site.
The Gatestone Institute describes itself as a think tank “dedicated to educating the public about what the mainstream media fails to report.” The Gatestone Institute bio of Rhode: Harold Rhode received in Ph.D. in Ottoman History and later served as the Turkish Desk Officer at the US Department of Defense. He is now a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute.
If this article is an example of the caliber of their efforts then what they report is what any sane person would see as propaganda. In this article (which was spread on many Islamophobic sites), Rhode said in part (emphasis mine):
Names parents choose to give their children are at least something of a guide to what they hold in high regard and what they wish for their children.
Would we name our children Warrior, Conqueror, Sword, or Holy War? These are the meanings of personal names commonly used in the Muslim world, and may give some insight into Muslim values, especially regarding violence. Violence has been endemic to Muslim society from its inception more than 1,400 years ago.
... Western societies almost never give their children names which denote violence. The Protestants who settled America often gave their children names indicative of their values, such as Felicity, Charity, Prudence, Hope, Faith, Joy or Chastity. Other Christians gave their children names that reflect similar values, or names from the Old or New Testaments: Miriam, Mary, David, Luke. As names can be an indicator of how a civilization views itself and the outside world, names parents choose to give their children are at least something of a guide to what they hold in high regard and what they wish for their children. And as Muslims often choose names related to war and violence, could those possibly be indicative of their values? Of course, many Muslims choose names such as Jamil (Beautiful), Latif (Kind, friendly), Wasim (Handsome), Karim, and Jawad (both meaning generous), which refer to qualities we in the West might also hope for our children. But many Muslims do not.
Jihad – meaning War in the Cause of Allah – for example, is a common given name in the Muslim world, and appears in various forms. Westerners, on meeting men named Jihad, are at first often startled, but then get used to hearing it. The name Jihad is also common in Turkish in two forms: “Cihat,” the Turkish variant, pronounced Ji-hat, and also “Savaş,” the Turkish word for war. From time to time, one also finds a variant, Jihad al-Din, meaning Holy War of the (Muslim) religion.
There are, of course, people with names that seem to us more pacific, more like our own: many Muslims, for instance, are named Salim, two separate names (SA-lim) or (SaLEEM)—two variants coming from the same Arabic root (S-L-M) which is sometimes mistakenly translated as “peaceful,” “peace,” or “free of suffering.” Sadly, however, these translations confuse rather than inform. Although one might reasonably assume that the word salaam, means “peace” in the Western sense, salaam actually denotes a rather different view of “peace.” Salaam, can best be translated as “the peaceful joy one gets from submitting to Allah’s will via Islam.” The word Islam itself, from the same root, simply means: “Submission to Allah’s will.”
Further, although there are Muslims with names such as Rahman and Rahim, loosely translated from the Arabic as the “compassionate” and “merciful,” both of these names are shortened versions of the names ‘Abd al-Rahman and ‘Abd al-Rahim, which refer to characteristics of Allah, not of man.
Many popular names are derived from the word “Fath,” Arabic for “Conquest in the Name of Islam.” The Arabic name “Fathullah,” and its Turkish variant, Fethullah , meaning “The Muslim Conquest in the Name of Allah,” are used frequently throughout the Muslim world, along with other variants, such as, Fathi and Fatih. The Ottoman conquest of Constantinople, later renamed Istanbul, is referred to as Futuh Costantiniya.
Another common name, Sayf, in Arabic means “sword.” Its variants follow suit: Sayf al-Islam means “the sword of Islam”; Sayf al-Din means “the sword of the Law/religion” (that is, Islam), and Sayf-Allah means the sword of Allah. The son of Libya’s late dictator, Colonel Mu’ammar al-Qaddafi, was named Seif al-Islam. ...
He goes on and on about the differences between “them” and “us” and manages to work in numerous anti-Muslim memes and distorted translations and interpretations including a definition of jihad that mainstream Muslims reject. Let’s look only at this issue of names and see if there is any validity at all to his central premise that “names parents choose to give their children are at least something of a guide to what they hold in high regard and what they wish for their children” and “Western societies almost never give their children names which denote violence”.
Even a very brief internet search will bring up numerous sites listing names for children. Although, Harold Rhode should have had to look no further than his own name. Harold: From the Old English name Hereweald meaning “leader of the army.
Here are just a few of those names that have exactly the same sorts of meanings that Harold Rhode finds so menacing, and that are commonly be found in the U.S. or Europe:
— Names meaning conqueror or victor: Victor, Victoria, Nikolas, Cortez, Vittorio, Sigourney
— Names meaning sword or spear: Aldo, Brand, Brandt, Edgar, Gerald
— Names meaning battle: Ernestine, Griselda
— Names meaning warlike: Marcus, Graham, Kane, Marcel, Marcos, Mark, Mario, Tracy
— Names meaning warrior: Alan, Alejandro, Alex, Alexander, Andreas, Andrew and Brian, Cadman, Kelly, Guy, Magnar = strong warrior, Cadmar: Brave Warrior, Donovan: Dark warrior, Clodoveo: Famous warrior, Wyatt: Little warrior, Helmer: The wrath of a warrior, Morgan: Sea warrior, Abner: valiant warrior. Harold: leader of an army. In fact, there are so many names meaning warrior that there is a site listing them.
— Nika means Ferocious
— Names meaning some form of weapon: Aldo or Dino: small old sword, Algar or Alger or Elgar: elf spear, Ansel or Anselm or Elmo: helmet, Brand, Brandt, or Brandi: blade or sword, Dodge: famous spear, Edgar: rich spear, Erskine: upon the knife, Fletcher: maker of arrows, Garret: strong spear, Gerald: spear ruler, Gerard or Geert or Gerhard: spear strong In fact there are so many of these weapon names that there is a site listing them.
As I was writing this, I discovered that Ali Garib has also responded to Rhode’s nonsense Islamophobe With Militarist Name Attacks Muslims For Militarist Names. Ali Gharib notes these additional points:
Rhode, thankfully, no longer serves in the Pentagon, where he once headed up an in-house think-tank that played a role in cherry-picking and over-emphasizing shoddy intelligence in favor of attacking Iraq. These days, Rhode is relegated the Gatestone Institute, a spin-off of the Hudson Institute where right-wingers (along with Alan Dershowitz) champion hawkish, often "pro-Israel" policies and, not infrequently, rattle off Islamophobic blogposts. (Rhode also serves as a board member of the Islamophobic film production group, Clarion Fund.) In his latest Gatestone posting, Rhode goes on at length about what he thinks is a quirk more or less unique to Islamic cultures, and one that proves how violent they are. ...
Got that? Parents give their children violent names because they come from inherently violent societies. Well, Mr. and Mrs. Rhode got some 'splainin' to do, as the kids say. According to one baby name site, "Harold" means "leader of an army"; according to another, "army ruler"; another says it's a "compound name composed of the elements here (army) and weald (ruler, power, control)." You get the idea. Surely this militarist outlook is exactly what Rhode's parents wanted to project to the outside world, "indicative of their values," values of violence and war. What does this say about Rhode's civilization?
hundreds of names meaning weapons of various kinds http://www.20000names.com/weapon_names_armor_names_male.htm