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Mohammed retakes top spot in English baby names
August 14th, 2012
12:19 PM ET

Mohammed retakes top spot in English baby names

By Richard Allen Greene, CNN

Mohammed reclaimed its place as the most popular name for baby boys born in England and Wales in 2011 - convincingly ahead of Harry, in second place, according to data released by the government this week.

The government declared that Harry was the most popular boy's name, but if you add up the five most popular different spellings of Mohammed, that name comes top.

Mohammed is also the most popular boy's name of the past five years for England and Wales, ahead of Oliver and Jack. It came first or second every year since 2007, the only name to do so.

And it could become even more popular in 2012, given the adulation around long-distance runner Mo Farah, who won two gold medals for Britain at the Olympics.

The popularity of the name comes as Britain's Muslim population is expected to double in the next 20 years.

The country, which was about 2% Muslim in 1990, grew to 4.6% Muslim in 2010, with nearly 2.9 million followers of the faith, according to analysis by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.

By 2030, the United Kingdom will be just over 8% Muslim, with more than 5.5 million adherents, the Washington-based think tank projected in a 2011 report, "The Future of the Global Muslim Population."

Mohammed first became the most popular boy's name in England in 2009, then was knocked back into second place the next year as Oliver enjoyed a huge surge in popularity.

Harry, the name of Prince William's younger brother and J.K. Rowling's boy wizard, leaped into second place in 2011, with 7,523 boys given the moniker, topping the 7,007 Olivers.

But the name of the Muslim prophet was given to 7,907 baby boys, according to CNN analysis of Office of National Statistics data. Mohammed, Muhammad and Mohammad were all among the top 100 most popular names, with Muhammed and Mohamed also coming in the top 200.

A total of 37,564 babies have been given a variation of the name in the past five years. Some 36,653 Olivers and 36,581 Jacks were born in England and Wales since 2007. The British government keeps separate statistics for Scotland and for Northern Ireland, the other two nations that make up the United Kingdom.

The 2011 British census had an optional question about religion. Results are expected in November.

At least four different spellings of the name Mohammed are among the 1,000 most popular American boys' names in 2011, according to the Social Security Administration.

Mohamed is the top, in 428th place, with Muhammad in 480th, Mohammed in 562nd and Mohammad in 609th.

The United States is about 0.8% Muslim, with about 2.6 million adherents, the Pew Forum calculates.

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Islam • Muslim • United Kingdom

soundoff (1,026 Responses)
  1. Guy Manningham

    This reminds me of the McLovin scene from Super Bad when he makes the case for Mohammed being the world's most popular name. Haha.

    http://guymanningham.com

    August 14, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
  2. Guy Manningham

    This reminds me of the McLovin scene from Super Bad haha.

    http://guymanningham.com

    August 14, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
  3. Jesus Christ Superstar

    Did anyone notice in the article...
    "Mohammed is also the most popular boy's name of the past five years for England and Wales, ahead of Oliver and Jack. It came first or second every year since 2007, the only name to do so."

    then later we read
    "Mohammed first became the most popular boy's name in England in 2009, then was knocked back into second place the next year as Oliver enjoyed a huge surge in popularity."

    Did it first become popular in England in 2007 or 2009? I see that this religion blog is always so terribly written and edited.

    August 14, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • enfilmigult

      It came first OR second every year since 2007. It came first for the first time in 2009, so presumably it was second in 2007 and 2008. Its continued popularity (whether it's first or not) makes it the most popular boy's name of the past five years—the entire past five years taken as a group, not one year at a time.

      August 14, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
  4. crappygovernment

    I value the life and tax contributions of an authentic, ethnic Briton higher than the life of a 3rd world immigrant/scab.

    August 14, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
  5. cpc65

    I don't have an issue with this but it's curious that if only 4.6%, or whatever percent it would be now in 2012, of the UK population is Muslim, why is Mohammed the top male name? Do the White male Brits all have ED? Also, have some originality regardless of what faith or ethnicity you are. I can see an elementary school classroom where every boy in there is named Mohammed. And I don't mean those weirdo Hollywood actors' kids names.

    August 14, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
    • buddycouch

      Its weird how christians do not name their boys Jesus, yet Mohammed is supposedly untouchable. Can't draw him, can't insult him, can't do anything but idolize him. I don't mean spanish pronuciation Hay Soos, but you just do not see a kid in America named Jesus LOL. It would seem wierd and out of place.

      August 14, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
  6. Shalom-Israel

    Kill muslims. The way Israel does!

    August 14, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
  7. FizzFuzz

    This is a nonsense article.

    Mohammed isn't in the top 10 names, let alone number 1.

    If you only choose to add all the variants of spelling of Mohammed, but don't do the same for all the James, Jims, Jamies, all the Lilys, Lillys, Lilians, all the Harrys, Harolds, Henrys, etc, then it's biased reporting.

    You may as well have just had 2 sentences for this whole article:

    Europe = islamic = bad. America = Christian = good.

    That's what you want to paint.

    August 14, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
    • enfilmigult

      Be sure to tell everyone who screams about CNN being a branch of the Liberal Media Conspiracy.

      August 14, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
  8. Muhammad

    lol @ hate-speading reneck wannabe neo-nazis at this forum!!

    August 14, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • Lobster

      indeed! it is easy for them to hide behind a computer screen

      August 14, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • Jason

      alah and muhammad are lovers!

      August 14, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
  9. Jason

    Alah is a hom0-se-xu-al and muhammad is his bee – ach!

    August 14, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
  10. Muhammad

    The most beautiful name EVER!!! Muhammad

    mmmua :*

    August 14, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • Wayne Gregory

      Where is Muhammad buried?

      August 14, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
  11. Mario

    It was either that or McLovin...

    August 14, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
  12. James

    Who cares? I was much more concerned for our future when 'Bella' and 'Edward' crept close to the top of baby names in the U.S.

    August 14, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
  13. Matt

    Maybe the next James Bond could be muslim. Then he could use torture, beheadings, and acid burns to make the villains talk and would not need all of those fancy western gadgets.

    August 14, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • Gazza

      But wouldn't he be self-detonating and therefore of limited use?

      August 14, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
  14. Wayne Gregory

    They should have taken care of that problem years ago. Too late now. Within 20 years England will have a muslim head of state. If my history is correct, did not England NOT recognize Israel as a state in 1948? Just saying....
    bye bye England.

    August 14, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • Joe

      It doesn't really make much sense to recognize a state that rebelled from your U.N. mandate.

      August 14, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
  15. crappygovernment

    Britain lost WW2. International bankers and International Communism won ww2.

    August 14, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
  16. yohan

    lol byebye england!

    August 14, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
  17. kotchi

    Someone has their wires crossed. Is CNN more knowledgable about this than BBC News? On the BBC News site ,lasted updated yesterday, the top five names in order were..Harry,Oliver,Jack,Alfie and Charlie.CNN "the most trusted name in news?" Judge for yourselves.

    August 14, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
    • Cam

      The article states that Mohammed is only number one if you add up all of the existing spelling variations of the name.

      August 14, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • Zane

      Harry is technically the most popular name, but according the CNN article, if you add up all the number of spellings of mohammed, then Mohammed overtakes Harry.

      August 14, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • Gazza

      The answer is in the article – there are several ways of spelling the name
      Muhammad
      Mohammad
      Muhammed
      Mohammed
      Mohamed
      Mohumed

      So if you accept that all are effectively trying to name after the same person then the count of all those permutations means that Mohammed is the most popular
      If you are the BBC or a Government official then you want to hide the fact that the Muslims are out breeding the indigenous population by counting each spelling as an unique instance

      Either way the country (and the whole of the West) is completely ruined long term

      August 14, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
  18. Roknlie

    Dear England:

    You had better get a grip on that if it is not too late. You see what they have done to the countries they came from. You also have seen first hand what they are capable of at the slightest provocation.

    August 14, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
  19. cpc65

    Don't draw them in any political cartoons or you'll have to spend the rest of your life in hiding.

    August 14, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
  20. G01851

    Queue racist and anti-immigration comments. Wake up people, the world changes whether you like it or not.

    August 14, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • crappygovernment

      You sound like a militant former Eastern European, comrade Trotsky. We don't want your Tower of Babel scams!

      August 14, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Just because something changes doesn't mean its for the better or that you have to like it.

      August 14, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.