Mohammed most popular name - in London

Last updated 17:23 16/09/2009

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Mohammed is the most common name for baby boys born in London and three other English regions.

The Islamic name overtook traditional choices like Jack, Thomas and Daniel to become the number one name in the West Midlands, Yorkshire and the Humber/North West as well as in the capital, in 2008.

The figures emerged in a detailed regional breakdown of figures published last week by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), Britain's Daily Telelgraph reported.

When various spellings of the Islamic prophet are added together - including Muhammad, Mohammad, Mohamed and Muhammed - the name is now more than twice as popular in London as the capital's second-ranked boys name, Daniel.

There were 1828 baby boys given the name Mohammed, including varients, in 2008, compared with only 844 who were called Daniel.

London is not the first European capital to see Mohammed become the number one name for baby boys. In Brussels, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Oslo the name has already gained the top slot.

Experts believe that internationally around 15 million people are called Mohammed, making it the most popular male name in the world.

Murtaza Shibli of the Muslim Council of Britain said he was not surprised to find Mohammed had become the most popular boys name in parts of the country.

"People choose it because of their love of the prophet Mohammed, and they believe the name will bring happiness and abundance," he said.

"Also because of its meaning - the praised one. Also there is a belief that if you do name your children Mohammed they will follow the good example of the prophet.

"There are so many spellings because it is an Arabic name and there are different ways of translating it into English."

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- NZPA

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