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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. Jason

    I went to the bathroom, did # 2 and saw the face of muhammad! Maybe I can sell it on the internet!

    August 14, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
    • and you wonder why

      and your spreading of hate is part of your religion or beliefs???? Your comments and beliefs are the reason why there is so much hate.

      August 14, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
  2. Carys

    Now how come the Atheists aren't all over this? Shouldn't worship of a prophet of any religion send them knee-jerking to the comments section – or is it just Christians they hate?

    August 14, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      so you didnt bother going back over the previous 7 pages to look at the comments before posting huh?

      August 14, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
  3. Jonas

    Interesting that all you have to do to find a whole mess of bigots and racists is just read the headline of the story. As soon as I saw the Muhammad part, I knew the racists would not be able to pass it up.; and just to let you know, your IP addresses are also just as easy to find.

    August 14, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • crappygovernment

      Thanks comrade Trotsky! There is nothing wrong with people sayinmg that they are tired of foreign immigration and the expenditures entailed. Go back to Russia, you comisaar!

      August 14, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • Tee

      We're shaking you goof.

      August 14, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
    • crappygovernment

      If Western economies collapse under the weight of Multiculturalism, the movement's benefactors will probably be gone after as well... I wouldn't want to be in their shoes...

      August 14, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
    • Jonas

      Ummm, "comrade Trotsky"? Did I say something communist? As a matter of fact did I even mention immigration? This is what I mean. I knew there was no meaningful dialogue here, but the sociology of it is very interesting. All ethnic groups have been considered immigrants to one country or another, yet we seem to forget that the world is made of many types of people with many ideas. Your's is no better than another. Meaningful dialogue can't be had if the first thing you do is start calling people names for their opinions. Also, you should spell check your posts before you hit "Post". Just some friendly advice. Makes you seem stupid when you misspell easy words.

      August 14, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
    • Jonas

      The world is already multicultural. In fact it is inherently multicultural because we speak different languages, dress differently, eat different foods. Multiculturalism is what built the world. EVERY nation has people from all over the world to thank for moving around and contributing in vast ways. Really, spouting hateful rhetoric is not a replacement for real dialogue.

      August 14, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
    • crappygovernment

      We Goyim don't want Tikkun Olam scams, Jonas.

      August 14, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  4. crappygovernment

    Multiculturalism is a scheme from Eastern europeans to bring in 3rd worlders to dilute/displace Western Civilization with scabs and un-assimilables. They don't practice it in Israel, the Apartheid State, because they know it"s a scam(from them).

    August 14, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • Moe

      why are you so against multiculturalism? Is it because you think minorities are a drain on the system? The two wealthiest religious groups in the US are Jews and Muslims. Are you counting the millions of white folks who live in trailers parks and collect welfare as a part of that drain on the system? It's just sad to white people hate on minorities so much; it's usually the uneducated ones that do and they blame minorities because their problems because they simply can't get ahead in life.

      September 4, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  5. Bill, Long Island

    The Coming Great Religious Wars.

    August 14, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • Yet another Muslim

      You really believe people do wars for Religion? They may use Religion to recruit free soldiers but real objective is territory-expansion and $

      August 14, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
  6. Yet another Muslim

    Such news refreshing for eyes :)

    Happy Laylatul Qadr to all humanity

    August 14, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • Kell

      Abbra dabbra qadrabra to you. Now get past the god stories already and get with the modern world heh.

      August 14, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
  7. Muslim

    Hate it or love it... we, Muslims, are here. We are people of peace. Usama and those terrorists are not from us, they are worse than a cancer for us and they have harmed Islam more than anybody in history. I invite you to do your own research rather than wasting your precious time on hate-forums. Allahu Akbar indeed!

    August 14, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • Bill, Long Island

      Then I respectfully suggest you stand up more forcefully to those who have hijacked your religion. Not with your words... with your weapons.

      August 14, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • Person

      Good stuff, good stuff.

      August 14, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      I have no issues with mainstream muslims but I have to say you guys seriously do need to get a handle on those that give you a bad name because eventually it will all kick off, there is no doubt about that.
      Dont tell us they give you a bad name, tell them.

      August 14, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • LiveFromATX

      people of peace, my @$$. When are you going to stop reciting that tired line and acknowledge basic reality?

      August 14, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
    • Bob

      Try to sell your religion here all you want but it's bunk like all the rest of them. Old supersti-tions for stupid, ignorant people, nothing more.

      August 14, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • Nate Higgers

      Hate it or love it, you're not wanted at all. Not here, not where you came from. I wonder why...

      August 14, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
    • rightguy

      Heres a more simple way to live a peaceful life. Forget all the bullschit you learned from your religion. There is no magic sky man that grants wishes. Instead, before you treat someone badly, think to yourself "Would I want to be treated this way?" If the answer is no... DONT DO IT! It turnes out living is peace is not all that complex after all, no need for massive amounts of religous text.

      August 14, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
  8. Jason

    allah and muhammad are fudge-packers!

    August 14, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • WAIT A MINUTE THERE BUCCO

      ALLAH IS ARABIC FOR GOD SO I'D RETHINK YOUR POSITION.

      August 14, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
  9. cwfusto

    It's just a name dude...... now, I feel really sorry for the white boy who's parents are trying to be "PC". sucker.

    August 14, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
  10. Just me

    This is really frightening to me.
    Muslim procreation must be off the charts.

    How bout the rest of us get busy on Harry's, Olivers, Kates and Deborahs.

    August 14, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
    • crappygovernment

      Because 1st worlders don't/can't overbreed because they have to pay taxes for the 3rd world's kids, in addition to the expenses of a 1st world upbringing...

      August 14, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      not really, its the most common muslim name. You can have 10 boys....2 james, 2 john, 2 thomas, 2 oliver, and 2 jack and it would only take 3 mohammeds to be the top name, its doesnt mean out breeding anyone.

      August 14, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
    • Mandie Grace Taylor

      Europe has a negative birth rate – Europeans have a negative birth rate – Spain, England, France , Germany – those countries have negative birth rates. Muslims in each of these respective countries do not. A muslim family is willing to live in a two bed room apartment and have six children. Save all their money to go to Mecca and the rest to support the family. An European family will have one child. Take weeks of vacations at resorts and buy the best of everything and spoil that one child rotten. That child grows up and moves back in with European parents -n this one child doesn't marry until his/her late 30's. Has one child. Grows old – dies – end of story.

      August 14, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
  11. Muhammad

    Islam will take over the world. May Allah lead everyone to Islam ! :)

    allah u akbar

    August 14, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
    • Jason

      EFF YOU SEE KAY alah AND muhammad!!!!

      August 14, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • Just me

      Not if the rest of the world can help it.

      August 14, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • TG

      Yeah, you wish. That will be the day. There are other people of other religion who will get rid of these terrorists before they grow up like one. So dream on and hope it will be a nightmarish one.

      August 14, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • GameOver

      Jesus already did, too late!

      August 14, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
    • CM

      I can't stand the name Mohammed. I can imagine the Arab spit when they say it! As a matter of fact, I can't stand Arab men. They are hairy and ugly and treat women like property. God please don't produce any more of these!

      August 14, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  12. Rania

    :( sad

    August 14, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
  13. ReallyCool

    Oliver is the most used name in Iran and Saudi Arabia according to the respective countries statistics department. It is this freedom of choice in most Arab nations that gives everyone a reason to believe that the future is brighter with a Mohammed in each home.

    August 14, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
  14. Islam4fools

    Yes name you kids after Islamic prophet Mohammed who had a 9 year old bride. Brilliant.

    August 14, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • jamal

      For all of those who belive what this guy belives please read the following article :

      http://dawn.com/2012/02/17/of-aishas-age-at-marriage/

      August 14, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
  15. Religion of peace?

    Quran: "Kill those who don't believe in Allah", "Do not take Christians or Jews as friends"

    August 14, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • jamal

      totoally out of context , when you are in war you fight thats what you do or unlike our US govt wage wars on innocent countires ,veitanam , iran , iraq ,afghanistan before being attacked . At least we are not bigots .

      August 14, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
  16. M.E.

    Except y'know, that's not the way it's actually counted. If you lump together every variation of Mohammed, you have to count Elizabeth, Liz, Beth, Betty, Lizzie, and Lizzy together too. You'd have to count James, Jamie, Jim, and Jimmy as one. Since that's not the case, it doesn't count. CNN, I don't usually call you out on poor journalistic standards, but this is sort of glaring.

    August 14, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      The girls name isnt in issue here as we are talking boys names. and jamie isnt another spelling for james.

      August 14, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
    • Richard Allen Greene

      Thanks for the comment, M.E. We had a long discussion about this in the office before I filed this article, and there are good arguments on both sides. Ultimately the deciding factor for me was that Mohammed, Muhammad, Mohamed, etc, are not nicknames for each other like Elizbeth, Lizzie etc (Oliver/Olly was the one we were discussing) - they are exactly the same name, just transliterated differently from a foreign language. A parent choosing to give their child the legal name Olly instead of Oliver or Lizzie instead of Elizabeth is choosing a slightly different name. A parent calling their child Muhammad instead of Mohamed is just choosing a different spelling of the same name. Still, I see the argument you're making, and for what it's worth, I ran the numbers on some variations in names for 2009. It didn't change the fact that Mohammed was the nost popular.

      August 14, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
    • pastafaria

      @Richard Allen Greene Thanks for joining in! To elaborate on your response to M.E., you seem to single out "Harry" in that it reflects a trend that is probably at least partly related to Prince Harry. But isn't he actually named Henry? If so, I'd think that it would be equally important to combine the "Harrys" and "Henrys" as it would to count all of the variants of "Mohammed" as one. Of course I make this observation without having a clue where "Henry" placed in your survey, and of course if you go back far enough in the British Monarchy you can make a petty good case for not going with "Henry," so maybe it wasn't that popular. :-)

      August 14, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
  17. Michael

    This article is completely misleading. If you look at the list, Mohammed isn't even in the top 10. It is barely in the top 20, at 19.
    James and Jacob are related, why not combine those? Jack and John are related, combine those.
    Combining Jack, Jake, and Jacob you get 6844+5047+2619=14510, way more than all the Mohammed spellings. Add Jackson for another 647.

    August 14, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • JJJJJ

      Your logic doesn't work here. Those are the different spellings of the SAME name, whereas James, Jacob..etc maybe related, they are not the same name

      August 14, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • Richard Allen Greene

      Hi Michael, see my response to M.E. above.

      August 14, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
  18. Louis

    0.8% Muslims in the U.S. will be 10% soon if we don't stop them from immigrating here! Burn down mosques!!

    August 14, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
  19. :(

    THIS WILL HAPPEN IN AMERICA IF WE DON'T STOP ISLAM HERE!!!

    FVCK Muhammad, the pedop.hile!

    August 14, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
  20. pastafaria

    For all of you ignorant xenophobic hillbillies that find this article disturbing, just chill. This is going on in a part of the world you probably didn't even know existed before reading this article, and would probably will never visit anyway, out of fear that your boat might take a wrong turn and fall off the edge of the "flat" earth on the way over (I'm assuming that if you intend to fly over, you'll just end up spending the entire the entire time at your local airport staring in amazement at the moving sidewalk). Besides, even if this does spread to the U.S., eventually there will be a Republican in the White House again and the G-men will be so busy keeping track of all them Mohammed types that they'll be to busy to come out into the woods and bust up your stills.

    August 14, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • crappygovernment

      How about we get to vote on foreign immigration, comrade? Save the 1st Worlders!

      August 14, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • Ballz

      You are a retard.

      August 14, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • pastafaria

      @cg Let's see, where do I begin. First, look up 1st, 2nd, 3rd world etc. and learn what those concepts actually mean before you cause yourself any further embarrassment. And I suppose that you are using the word "comrade" as some sort of reference to Communism, which you associate with every person or idea that does not fit in with your ignorant view of the world, however during the Cold War the minority of the Middle Eastern Muslim cultures that hated the US tended to be even more hostile to the Soviets (who where officially Atheist).

      August 14, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • crappygovernment

      The world is 90%+ 3rd World dreck. Save the 1st Worlders!

      August 14, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • pastafaria

      That statistic is irrelevant to my assertion that you have no idea what "3rd world" means.

      August 14, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
    • Kellie

      Pastafaria, do you know what I find fascinating about all of this? In your attempt to to come to the defense of one group of people, you use a very derogatory term to identify another. Your description of a "xenophobic hillbilly" does more damage than your intent to explain your opinion. I find the term "hillbilly" to be just as offensive as "ni-gg-er". It stereotypes a group of people, regardless of all of their differences. Step off the soap box Pastafaria, you made yourself look like a fool.

      August 14, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
    • Yank33Z

      @pastafria: a realist. 2 thumbs up.

      August 14, 2012 at 6:06 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.