SHAFAQNA – Muhammad continues to be one of the most popular names in the United Kingdom, with a new survey finding it to be the second most common name given to baby boys in 2016.
The traditional Muslim name was the number one baby boy’s name for two years running in the 2014 and 2015 annual list released by parenting site BabyCentre. This year, Muhammad was knocked off top spot by Oliver. The female variation Olivia is the number one girl’s name for 2016.
Muhammad, which means “the most praised one,” is the name of the prophet of Islam and is, along with its several spelling variations, believed to be one of the most popular names in the world. Muslims represent the second largest religious group in the U.K, comprising 4.8 percent of the population, according to the last census tallied in 2011.
The new name survey comes at a time of increasing anti-immigrant sentiment in the U.K., which helped to fuel Britain’s vote to exit from the European Union earlier this year. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Theresa May has been criticized for agreeing to take only 20,000 Syrian refugees over the next four years.
There is also evidence of new parents being influenced by popular culture. Harry is up to No. 4, perhaps influenced by the royal family and One Direction’s Harry Styles, while George, the name given to the first child of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, has also been boosted back inside the top 10.
Likely impacted by Margot Robbie’s baseball-bat wielding character in this year’s comic-book movie “Suicide Squad,” Harley and Quinn, also feature on the list. There has also been a rise in Finn, Kylo and Leia, all names that featured in the Star Wars reboot released late last year.
It is a different story in the United States. According to a recently conducted survey by the U.S. BabyCenter website, Muhammad is just the 34th most popular name. Perhaps that shouldn’t be a surprise in a country where Muslims make up only around one percent of the total population.