The Added Pressure This Muslim Father Felt In Naming His Son

Playwright Wajahat Ali said Muslim parents worry about burdening their child with a traditionally Muslim name.

It’s hard enough to choose a name your child will live with forever, but there's an added pressure for Muslims.

Playwright Wajahat Ali told HuffPost Live on Wednesday that many Muslim parents grapple with wanting to choose a traditionally Muslim name, like "Muhammed," but also not wanting to subject their child to potential discrimination. 

Ali, who recently wrote on the subject for the New York Times, explained to host Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani that when he and his wife first found out they were having a baby, there was a moment of trepidation of whether they should give their child a "Muslim-y" name. He explained:

As a parent, you're always concerned about the safety and security of your child, and it's not about selling out, it's not about whitewashing. It's about a legitimate fear, or a concern that whether or not my baby -- who's this cute little guy who has great hair and two teeth -- will be judged, stereotyped, profiled. Not due to his actions, not do to his behavior, not due to his character. But simply due to his skin color, which is one baggage, his father who's named Wajahat Ali, his religious identity and also a name.

Ali said that it's only been within the last five years that he's heard conversations with fellow millennial Muslim parents who joke about what to name a son hoping he'll "fit in" and "be mainstream." But behind the joke, Ali said, is a "deep ... fear, which is a sad reflection of the current state of America."

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