Saudi Arabia is one of the countries with the strictest baby-naming laws.
Recently, the government banned 50 baby names that either go against the country’s religion and traditions, or are considered “too foreign” or “inappropriate.”
Among the list’s forbidden monikers are Ben, Elaine, Alice, Lauren and Linda.
According to the government, the banned names were deemed either “blasphemous,” non-Arabic, non-Islamic or simply contradictory to Saudi Arabian culture. Binyamin (Arabic for Benjamin), for instance, was included because of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It is now banned because of the ongoing tension between the two countries.
Other monikers are forbidden because of their connections to royalty, such as Sumuw, meaning highness, Malek, meaning king, and Malika, meaning queen.
Certain religious names are also off limits to new parents, including Malak (Angel), Nabi (Prophet) and Jibreel (Gabriel).
While most monikers on the list are banned for specific reasons, some names do not fit into any category restrictions and appear unusual even to the country’s citizens. Girls’ names Yara and Eman, for instance, are popular choices in the Middle East, yet they appear on the list without explanation.
Saudi Arabia isn’t the only country to have a list of banned baby names. Flip through the slideshow below to see the strictest baby-naming laws around the world.