Right-wing French candidate Zemmour praises Morocco’s former ban on foreign names

Far-right French presidential candidate Eric Zemmour, who wants to ban Muslim names in France, hailed an outdated Moroccan ban on foreign names as “a great idea”.

Zemmour said he changed his Moroccan birth name to Eric for ‘love of France’ [Getty]

Right-wing French presidential candidate Eric Zemmour on Thursday applauded a now-obsolete Moroccan law that only allowed names “with a Moroccan character” for newborns.

Zemmour’s stamp of approval for the measure came in response to a tweet posted on Wednesday by Mohamed Louizi, a Moroccan essayist living in France.

Louizi highlighted the 2002 law governing Moroccan civil status, which orders parents to choose first names with “Moroccan character” for their children.

The law “protects Moroccan national identity”, Louizi said.

Responding to Louizi’s tweet, Zemmour hailed the Moroccan law as “a great idea”.

“Long live Morocco and Moroccans!” he said.

Zemmour told French radio CMR last year that he is of Moroccan origin, and that he changed his Moroccan birth name to Eric “for the love of France”. He refused to reveal his birth name.

In September last year, before announcing he would run for president, Zemmour called for a ban on non-French first names like Mohammed, saying foreign first names threaten French identity.

Zemmour’s comments on immigration, Islam and minorities have landed him in legal trouble on numerous occasions. In February 2019, a French court found Zemmour guilty of “inciting racial hatred” and ordered him to pay thousands of euros in fines.

According to the latest polls, more than 14% of French citizens said they would vote for Zemmour in the presidential elections scheduled for April.

Morocco passed the ban on non-Moroccan names in 2002, provided that parents and guardians choose names from which to choose.

The lists did not include names in Tamazight, the language of the indigenous Amazigh people, even though they make up about a fifth of Morocco’s population.

The Amazigh community fought against the discriminatory ban for years until Morocco allowed Amazigh first names in 2013, two years after recognizing Tamazight as an official language.

In 2021, the term “Moroccan character” was removed and replaced with the simple clarification that the first name “must not undermine morals or public order”.

About Wesley V. Finley

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