German father banned from naming son ‘WikiLeaks’

Proud new father Haja Hamalaw from Germany has been banned from naming his newborn son “WikiLeaks.”

Haja Hamalaw is such a big fan of Julian Assange’s website. He tried to name his son after it when he was born on Mar. 14, but German officials would not let him.

He said he already chose the name when he learned his wife was pregnant. When his son was born, he announced his unusual name.

Local officials in the southern border city of Passau have strict guidelines. This means that unusual names, which might cause embarrassment for the child, are banned. They refused to accept WikiLeaks as a viable name when they learned about Haja Hamalaw registering the name for the child.

Passau city spokeswoman Karin Schmeller said, “After explaining that this would cause problems for the child, the father agreed to opt for Dako on his birth certificate.”

Haja and his wife settled on the name Dako on their son’s birth certificate, though they continue to call him “WikiLeaks” at home.

Reasons for banning names

Reasons for banning names differs from country to country. It usually has to do with protecting the child from mockery or embarrassment that might come their way. These reasons include:

  • Embarrassment
  • Mockery
  • Subservience and insecurity
  • If the name is likely to limit social interaction
  • If the translation is deemed ‘inappropriate’

Registering a child’s name as one that is on the banned list in a specific country often comes with the consequence of changing the name and paying a fine.

Examples of names banned in specific countries

These are some specific cases where names had to be changed because officials would not allow them.

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