Moroccan Civil Authorities Refuse to Register Amazigh Names

names that are not pre-approved by the government bureaucracy.The latest example was reported by The Amazigh Network for Citizenship,  a civil advocacy group in Morocco,

Finally, They Have Registred My Son's Name!

Thank you very much for all people who sympathized with me in this bitter humiliation which was prepared and acted by Moroccan authorities. ... Read more

"on May 15th 2009. It is the case of a Moroccan Amazigh citizen, Mr. Mbarek Oulemda who was denied the registration of the first name of his newborn baby, at the civil services registry of the 3rd district “arrondissement” of AthMellal (province of BeniMellal).
The person ahead in line of Mr. Mbarek Oulemda registered his newborn son with the name  “said” without a problem. When his turn came up, he explained that his son's chosen name is “Ayyur”, “the Moon” in Amazigh language. The response of the civil registry officer was: "you must drop “Ayyur”, because it's foreign"."Mr. Mbarek Oulemda reported that he felt insulted, oppressed and that his rights were violated, he said "why do you accept the name “Said” without a problem, and you refuse the name “Ayyur”?, this Is simply a racist act. "
The civil servant replied that Mr. Oulemda  "must go to the headquarters at the provincial civil services office "
Mr. Mbarek, then, took to the direction of the provincial “prefecture” offices of AthMellal, hoping, perhaps, that the refusal of the local officer to register his son’s amazigh name is due to ignorance, over zealousness, or simply, a lack of understanding from the local civil servant of the “new rules”.
At the Prefecture offices, Mr. Mbarek Oulemda told the officer "My son’s name is Ayyur which means in the Tamazight language " the moon ".
"But your dialect is not a language, and besides " Ayyur "is not authorized by the Ministry of the Interior as a valid name...” replied the officer
Following a lengthy and impassioned argument from Mr. Mbarek Oulemda “ that the Amazigh language is a millennium old … that the Moroccan nation is deeply embedded in its Amazigh element...” he was told, without much conviction " go back and check with the local Mouqataa “
"Did the head of the prefecture gave you a written authorization to register  “Ayyur” as a name in the civil registry?" said the local clerk, the following day,   “if no, there is not much we can do”.
"I will not give up my rights as a citizen, I will continue my fight for my rights declared Mr. Mbarek Oulemda to the “ Amazigh Network of citizenship



MoroccoBoard News Service

Comments (22)  

0 #1 An Outrage!Rachida 2009-05-20 08:02
This is infringement of Civil Liberties! whihc of course we do not have in Morocco, exactely the same as Human Rights whihc we do not have in Morocco! who the hell are these people and who gives them the right to tell anyone what to call or not call their own kids??? In Agadir, we have few Ayyurs in the family, I never hear such rubbish in my life. Ayyur isn't a foreign name to us berebers, it may be to Arabs but not to us, it's not like George or Chris: there are foreign names. Madness.......b ureacrates have gone mad! tha's all we need on top of what we already have in Morocco!
An Amazigh form diaspora
0 #2 COMMENT_TITLE_R E Moroccan Civil Authorities Refuse to Register Amazigh NamesAn Amazigh form diaspora 2009-05-20 09:21
If Ayyur is foreign, all Amazigh people are foreign. You see, what the officiel ideology has done to natives of Morocco and North Africa. They are pariah in their own land. Shame shame!
0 #3 imamjamaal 2009-05-20 09:43
morocco is Arab and will stay Arab and Sahara belongs to morocco and will always belong to morocco. Most of the names the berbers want to name their kids are names of shirk ( paganism) They want to separate Moroccans.
0 #4 COMMENT_TITLE_R E Moroccan Civil Authorities Refuse to Register Amazigh Nameshmimarmad 2009-05-20 10:36
Ayyur, bambi, bousi7a. Moroccan officials would say we are absolutely right to block these names. Why pick ayyur when you have Jilali?
What's wrong with Jilali or qibbou?
Officials do not want the extermination of Arab identity. If these names are allowed , then sooner or later Morocco will turn something similar to Kurdistan.
You may ask what about freedom of expression? when did we have freedom of expression to start with? Please let's not start this freedom thing again.
Ok some of you will say, that's racist! well, of course it's racist, we are and were always racists, we call a berber shal7 qruffi, we call black drawi or lqard, we call jews lihoud khanzin, but for some reason, we never had problems or bad names for Christians. We always respected the French for instance.
Moroccan officials are only thriving in continuity. They will not change. Change is not in their dictionary.

0 #5 COMMENT_TITLE_R E Moroccan Civil Authorities Refuse to Register Amazigh Namesjazuk 2009-05-21 05:41
Ignorance talks! Ayyur means something to us berbers, while bambi means nothing........ .We might be a nation of racists in Morocco and so are many other people in Europe and US........ but that's not the point here, the point is been able to call your children what you want and what you see fit according to your culture and traditions. Nothing is wrong with Jilali or with Iqbal as we have those names too, but to have the right, away from the bureaucrats or anyone else, to call you son: Jilali or Ayyur is a Civil rigt and no one can take that away for us!. Nothing to do with freedom (this is another subject!). When we use names like Mohamad, Mhand, Ayyur: they mean something to us, they mean a lot to us, they are our parent and grand-parents names and we have the right to use them rather than been dictating by some idiot who may or may no hold a Baccalaureate to tell us how and what to call our kids!
0 #6 COMMENT_TITLE_R E Moroccan Civil Authorities Refuse to Register Amazigh NamesHmimarmad 2009-05-21 10:16
Why does the Berbers dislike the arabs and the fassis do the same? and Why do the Arabs dislike both?
Let's face it, Berbers see themselves berbers first and then perhaps Moroccans. Even the way you phrased your comment you said "Ayyur means something to us berbers" US BERBERS. It should be US Moroccans. The Fassis of course think that they are above and beyond Arabs and everyone else.
I can only find one answer. Berbers are known to be the 1st inhabitants of Morocco and they resent that Islam or Arabs came along and took over. It is amazing though that after 1400 years, the hate still there and even flourishing. It's a fact, it is not ignorance.
I am afraid that even After we free the Moroccan Sahara, The Arabs will have an added hater; the Sahraouis.

We should cherish Morocco as Moroccans and not divide it as Berbers, Fassis, or arabs. We should not think in term "us", we shouls in terns of "we".

0 #7 AyyurAyyur 2009-05-22 08:29
Please don't mix things up.Imazighen should live in their country as full citizens not as foreigners.Imaz ighen are like other people we don't believe that we are the best ones or spreading hatred and extremism amongst Moroccans. We are struggling to gain our degnity and our rights in our homeland. We are struggling against the authorities and those who reject us not against other citizens like us.Read history and you will discover the reality in North Africa.You know when I asked the Civilregistry inspector to name my son Ayyur he answered but Tamazight is not a language it is a dialect which has no history.
If the arabic speakers are given these information when they want to register their newborns than ce can say that we are equal.
0 #8 COMMENT_TITLE_R E Moroccan Civil Authorities Refuse to Register Amazigh NamesHmimarmad 2009-05-22 16:03
In Morocco you have no right be it imazighen, Arab, or jew. Money talks over there. If you bribe your way, you can call you new born Michael or Angelina. There nothing that you cannot do if you bribe your way.
Sometimes you can get lucky and encounter wald nas or bant nas and you get your things done. Until we have decent people holding the upper jobs mentoring the poor little emplyoyees, you and I and others will always have to deal with our marocanite'.
As for the people not wanting to register your new born, one thing i find it useful is . Go to the press.
0 #9 COMMENT_TITLE_R E Moroccan Civil Authorities Refuse to Register Amazigh Namesnabilino 2009-05-24 04:24
Chill out people

Why does the writer of the article insult the local official of ignorance? He's simply following rules. At least he's in his home land and working there.
Some Berber people think that they have "del3a zayda" like blacks in the US. I tell these people to grow up and stop creating division amongst Moroccans.

This dude who wants to name his sun Ayyur is named Mbarek, an arabic name. Ask your father why he gave you that name and he will tell you that it means something nice in the Moroccan NATIONAL language, Arabic.
Ait Haddou
0 #10 LahcenAit Haddou 2009-05-26 07:08
Data 1: Islam is the religion of most moroccan.
Data 2: Most moroccan are amazigh descent.
Data 3: Arabic is the official langugage.
Data 4: More than 50% speak tamazight, especially in country side.
Data 5: Arabic is more spoken in big cities.

Amazigh people want to give their children an amazigh significance ? It is their right. Don't bother them !

Don't mix arabic language with the religion of Islam.

I could be a good muslim and speak, laugh, live, dream and be a muslim.
majid berkani
0 #11 whats wrong with amazigh namesmajid berkani 2009-05-26 08:59
there's no such thing as islamic names as we all know, the arabic/"islamic " names predates islam itself, so stop using that card. Imazighen as we all know are the original people of morocco and why should't they have the right to name their children in amazigh names. it's clear most of the people in this forum are panarabist who only have love for everything that is arabic and disregard to anything else. these is my 3 attempt to publish a comment so, i hope this comment gets published. cheers
0 #12 COMMENT_TITLE_R E Moroccan Civil Authorities Refuse to Register Amazigh NamesHmimarmad 2009-05-26 14:43
Preventing people from choosing the name they please is wrong. The problem here is that Imazighen feel more Berbers than Moroccan. The reason is that they have always been treated as second class citizens. Oufkir did not help their case either wanting to overthrow the monarchy. Just like the Kurds feel more Kurds than Iraqis. Anytime you treat your people less than the others, you get a a resentful people.
I do not blame them and I do not expect them to be happy for being discriminated against for centuries. Any time they have the opportunity to fight their subjection to neglect, they do not hesitate.
You only harvest what you cultivate.
0 #13 Has it come to this now....BaBaDriss 2009-05-27 02:19
I was reading through these comments, I was shocked to hear all these contrasting opinions about something we used to joke about.
When I was growing up, these "Shllouh" and "LaRoubia" and "Foussa" issue was more contained in name calling and insults among us little kids. I never taught, and I actually believed, that it will never attain and mature to this level and to make matters even more surprising is the comments are from "Immigrants" who live outside the Homeland, and they have tasted racism, indifference, and bias. They also should understand what rumors and a well(negative) crafted propaganda can do to a society.
It's not about Mbarek or Ayyur or Moha, It's about this forum and how it escalated from an issue that was brought up to the table to a war of words and a "false history of facts" each of you claiming a juste cause and some of you even gave us a "why" a "how" and "what will happen". Genius I might say. Shame on most of you this what you have to offer after all these years living in this society with 100% access to your local library, newspapers, blogs, Internet, and proximity to an abundance of rich human and also material resources. I hope something changes, it has to.

0 #14 COMMENT_TITLE_R E Moroccan Civil Authorities Refuse to Register Amazigh NamesHrizi 2009-05-27 05:31
Anybody has the right to name his son or daughter anything he or she wants, And let's not be devided.
0 #15 COMMENT_TITLE_R E Moroccan Civil Authorities Refuse to Register Amazigh NamesHmimarmad 2009-05-27 13:31
Shame on those who want to silence the majority. This forum if anything else shows that at least the "migrants" as you call them are now able to express their opinion. You might not agree with them but at least this is not moqata3a or komisaria where everything you said will be held against you. It does not serve us well if we all agree on things.
I look at at the other way, I see what you called migrants as people who now speak their mind and do NOT have to be politically correct to please a certain minority. I keep coming to this site because I know there is someone out there looking at things from a different angle which i find enriching, cultivating, and above all possily useful.
One last thing not everyone here experienced Racism and hate that you have mentioned. I think if you respect yourself and others and you obey the laws and the rules like everyone else, there will be a very slim chance that you will be discriminated against.
Let's not blame others, we have only ourselves to blame when we screw up. Over all host countries have been and still good to us and that's the reason we left everything behind and we stayed.
majid berkani
0 #16 whats your point?majid berkani 2009-05-29 01:59
babadriss, whats your point?
it's people like us who should try to make a diffrence in the moroccan society and try helping people who weren't so fortunate enough to live abroad. I just don't get it when people are talking about amazigh people are trying to create division - what kind of division? the amazigh people are trying to get some basic human rights, such as be able to use their languages in areas where the majority are imazighen and to practice their culture. let's face it, morocco isn't such a lovely country as some of us try to pretend it is. there's a reason why we or our parents left the country. so instead of pretending everything is fine and there are no problems in morocco, we have to face reality and deal with it.
Chel7 9ruffi
0 #17 Proud Moroccan and proud Amazigh!Chel7 9ruffi 2009-05-29 03:48
It's funny how so much ignorance roam among you. I've heard that Imazighen feel more berber than Moroccan. For you I say you don't even know Morocco: Go research History? who made Moroccan History? Who conquered Andalus, Timbukto, Senegal river banks...etc Who build Menara, Koutoubia, Giralda, Oudaya...etc who fought the French and Spanish in the Battle of Anoual (Rif), in the battles of the Atlas by Moha ou hammou (and his wife Itto) and in the south by the confederacy of the Ait Baamran tribes. Please name one organized battle led by the Arabs... except the one we are still fighting against the Polisario. So please go research your Morocco because it's definitely a Morocco falsified to stay always Arab. I just hope that imazighen would never get to the point where they are so sick of your ignorant kind that they start a separatist movement!
0 #18 I have a better name and a role model for you!Moroccan 2009-06-04 21:00
First of all congratulation on finally getting to name your son the name that you have chosen for him. I hope that the same efforts and struggle can be offered to ensure that your son and his brothers and sisters weather they are "Aroubia", "Riafa" or "Saraoua" would get adequate education, proper healthcare, jobs....etc.

The name that I would suggest is "Abdelkarim". You can even call him "Mulay Abdelkarim" or "Sidi Abdelkarim". But if you want to be exact, you can give him the name "Muhammed Abedelkarim". I am pretty sure you would not be able to name him "Muhammed Ibn Abdelkarim" ...even the middle name might be an issue nowaday
Anyway, when your son asks you who you named him after or folks ask you about the reason for choosing the name, you can answer simply by stating that he was named after a "Lion" from "Jbal Rif", a true hero. A Moroccan who happened to be from Rif. His name was Muhammed Ibn Abdelkarim El Khettabi. I bet yoy that the conversation about that name would be longer and more intresting - in my opinion-
From the lyrics of one of the songs of "Nass El Ghiwane" :
- "Yak klal hna ma fina ma yetkessem."

Again, congrats on naming your son.

Your Moroccan brother who happen to be "Aroubi"
0 #19 COMMENT_TITLE_R E Moroccan Civil Authorities Refuse to Register Amazigh NamesRifi 2009-06-09 08:26
bottom line the original habitants of morocco are Imazigh.So give to cesar what belong to cesar.Morocco will never go forward as long as the country doesn't come to it multiple cultures and accepted it.Our culture is 100% different that the middle eastern the only thing we have in common is the religion and even that we are in tolerant side because we've been raised that way.Names are very important to a family.So now if a moroccan jewish want to give his son a name of Moshe? no it is foreign?,he must give him the name of Muhammad? where is the freedom of religion and ethnicity.Our king and government must wake up.There is no such european democraty,ameri can democraty,arab democraty.There is only one here in the USA.Wake up and stop listening to the Arab the way I am a muslim who pray five times a day,I do it for myself not to show off for others and that doesn't give the right to tell to the others how to live their lives and what to name their daughters and sons.The goodwill is in the deeds not in blablabla.
0 #20 AyyurAyyur 2009-06-14 01:43
So give to cesar what belong to cesar
Ould el blad
0 #21 To be Moroccan or not to be, that is the questonOuld el blad 2009-06-19 20:56

Amazighia among other Moroccan cultures is part of every Moroccan’s life not just those who happened to speak it. One believes that Ayyur is a good name for a Moroccan, another who feels that his fair skin and blue eyes could qualify him as an European will opt for John and another black Moroccan will be thinking about an original Ghanaian name...etc. Sometimes I even hear some chleuh asserting on how they were oppressed, their land taken, their heritage dismissed, and in this instance true berber names denied ….etc which in reality is a separatist movement and an implicit claim for territorial division or what will lead to it.

My observation is that most of those who hold this type of thinking live in the western world and picked up on the westerners’ struggle to affirm their elusive identity, very common in America, and is mostly a symptom of a life spent in seclusion devoid of any family life, segregation, whites that claim racial supremacy, blacks to be direct lineage of the pharaohs….all kind of fantasies that now I see raised by our own.

Out of ill-emancipatio n and efforts to associate degenerate a belief that one person can be from some kind of ancient stock as the historical first inhabitant of Morocco and perhaps feel the need, because being of a pure blood line, to be granted some sort of privileges or maybe honorific titles or be called by some ancient name. Agreed that one is entitled to the freedom to name their dog any name they want but when it comes to a real person that one intend for to be a Moroccan it should be Moroccan names according our norms and Islamic heritage that took centuries to gain (please refer to Ibn Khaldoum's Moquadima on the inhabitant of Morocco). Chleuh have always championed the cause of a true Islam and they are honored for that. We have tendency to fetch our ideas inblad westerners colonial books about our history, not aware that most of these writings were done not by true historian as Ibn Khaldoun but by emissaries scouting for land to free from savagery (us)

One should be very careful with this sort of illegitimate and segregationist publishing. It can be a two way process; I can be exactly sitting on the other side and promoting similar messages of exclusion that can culminate into open hostility, start a nice little civil war in our homeland, because make no mistake this will be the ultimate outcome and be assured that business will go on in war times same as in peace times except that we will never be the same. Spain, Algeria and our referred to Israeli compadres will be thrilled.

I am proud to say that my family counts Swassa, Saharoua, Riafa, From Casa to Nador, never heard anyone questioning our cultural unity or coming up with any uncommon names for our family newborn babies.

On the other hand if we want to pursue this the logic and go to the source, maybe we should consider using true African names, I mean black African for they might be the original inhabitant of Morocco and many blacks (not just African) will agree if you asked them, so that will probably make many of us European if not Arabs and then our European cousins will receive us with open arms as you know.

Please, please don't invoke Israel as a pro-arab democracy because they allow Arab names, this is plain delusional and offensive thinking and it should not be published on a Moroccan site, it goes without comment what our Palestinians brothers are enduring in their occupied land. Just remember nation are not measured by human life but by centuries of evolution, not because Arabs are at the bottom of the food chaine makes them dispensible, arabic is the languae of Quran Karim, speaking Arabic or having an arab name is a privilege

Ould el blad
0 #22 COMMENT_TITLE_R E Moroccan Civil Authorities Refuse to Register Amazigh NamesRiffi 2009-06-23 04:36
Ould el blad get out of the box.Very smart your analysis,shovin g the arabic culture and its contents in people's throat in very talented way ,they teached you well.why not black name's.But the dog story was the good one and sneaky,name your dog what ever you want but not human(berber'na me or others ????).So if you have have your family from all parts of morocco it will be one of the reason to be open.some people will never change,because they are afraid of changes.

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