Indicative of the Muslim tide in the United Kingdom, the name Muhammad – and spelling variants of the name – ranks as the second most popular baby name in the island nation in 2016, but the United States still has a strong preference for names with a Hebrew origin when it comes to their newborns.
With President Barack Obama’s lenient immigration policy for Muslim refugees from war-torn nations, many have witnessed the Islamization of American in various forms –such as pro-Muslim curricula in the public schools – but when it comes to baby names, the U.S. does not reflect the Islamic influence seen in Britain.
Biblical influence abounds in U.S.
In contrast, names of biblical origin rooted in Hebrew dominate designated baby names in America.
“While the population of Muslims in the U.S. is growing fast – due to both a high birth rate and immigration – the perhaps surprising news in the states is that seven of the most popular boys’ names this year are of Hebrew origin,” WND reports. “They include Noah, Michael, Elijah, Jacob, Ethan, James and Benjamin.”
And when looking at the top 100 names given to newborns in America this year, it was found that 35 are rooted in Hebrew, but the name Muhammad – the name of the Islamic prophet – was nowhere to be seen.
“Muhammad is not among the top 100, though the most common alternate spellings of the name of Islam’s founder include Mohammed, Muhammed, Mohammad or Mohamed,” WND announced. “Oliver doesn’t make the list in the U.S., either.”
In fact, according to the Social Security Administration, choosing Hebrew names for boys is by no means a new trend in America, and Hebrew names for girls this year shows the Hebrew influence, as well.
“In 2015, the top boy’s name was Jacob … followed closely by Ethan, Michael, Noah and Daniel – all in the top 10,” the independent daily informed. “The most popular girls’ names in 2016 also had a strong Hebrew influence. Among the top 10 this year were Ava (3), Isabella, which is a Spanish version of Elizabeth, (5), Abigail, (7), and Amelia (10). The English name, Elizabeth, was 14th.”
At the close of 2015, it was asserted by a popular Jewish website that the influence of Israel is still engrained in Americans looking to name their children, even though anti-Semitism is often reflected in the news media and the education system when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“While Israel sometimes gets bad press in the United States, when it comes to naming our children, Hebrew names top the list,” WorldJewishDaily.com reported.
What’s in a name?
When analyzing the basis for Americans naming their children, Boston University religion professor Stephen Porthero – who wrote God Is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions that Run the World – asked the question, “Where are the Christian names?” when looking at the trend.
WND Founder Joseph Farah answered that question.
“It’s sort of a silly question,” Farah responded. “American evangelicals, in particular, rightly see little distinction between traditional ‘Christian’ names like Mary and Joseph and ‘Hebrew’ names, since they are of the same origin. Christianity itself is of Hebrew origin – as are the names Mary and Joseph or Miriam and Yosef.”
According to Farah – who speaks to the trend in his book, The Restitution of All Things – says it is quite evident that Christians in America are returning to the Old and New Testaments of the Bible, which were written solely by Hebrew or Jewish authors … when looking to give their children inspirational names.
“Christians are rediscovering the Hebrew roots of their faith,” the conservative author and editor explained. “But Hebrew isn’t just in the roots of Christianity. It’s in the trunk, the branches and the leaves. It’s in the very DNA of the faith – and there is a growing recognition and understanding of that fact within an Israel-centric component of Christianity.”
He also emphasized that every name most Americans consider to be “Christian” actually has its origins in Hebrew.
“What’s the ultimate Christian name?” Farah pondered. “Would it be ‘Jesus’? That’s simply a Greek version of Yeshua – the Messiah’s real Hebrew name – usually rendered ‘Joshua’ in English. How about the name ‘Christian’? Again, ‘Christ’ is simply derived from the Greek translation of the Hebrew title ‘Messiah,’ so that the name ‘Christian’ would literally mean ‘follower of Messiah.’”
A look at the legacy of names of America’s commander-in-chiefs was also examined.
“Most of America’s presidents – with the notable exception of George Washington – had some form of biblical name. In addition to John Adams and John Quincy Adams, there was James Madison,” WND pointed out. “James comes from the Hebrew name Ya’akov by way of the English translation of the New Testament. Ya’akov is otherwise known as Jacob, which means ‘he will impede or hold up.’ Abraham Lincoln’s name was a direct biblical name: ‘father of a multitude.’ John Kennedy was another Yohanan; James Buchanan and James Carter both had names that came from the Old Testament. How well known is the fact that President Warren G. Harding was really Warren Gamaliel, which in Hebrew is Gamliel or ‘God has granted to me’? Of course, the well-liked Dwight Eisenhower was Dwight David. David in Hebrew means ‘beloved.’”
Switching to names given to girls at their birth in America, it was found that nearly half of the nation’s most popular choices are either Hebrew in origin or come directly from the Bible, as seen below:
- Mary from the Hebrew name Miriam or “bitter, bitterness”
- Elizabeth from the Hebrew Elisheva, “an oath to God”
- Maria, also derived from Miriam
- Susan from Shoshanah, which means “lily or rose”
- Margaret from Margalit, which is a pearl
- Ruth connotes “appearance”; she was the famous convert to Judaism and ancestor of King David
- Sharon, the name of a fertile plain in Israel
- Sarah means “princess”; she was the wife of Abraham
- Deborah is a honeybee (Hebrew Devorah), a judge in ancient Israel
Unlike the U.K., the trend toward names with an Islamic origin has no signs of dawning on America any time soon – especially with President-elect Donald Trump’s proposed immigration policy concerning Muslim refugees, which promises to be much more stringent than outgoing the Obama adminsistration’s current pro-Islamic policy.
Copyright American Family News. Reprinted with permission.