Saudi Arabia Forbids New Father From Naming Daughter ‘Ivanka’ by the Forward

Saudi Arabia Forbids New Father From Naming Daughter ‘Ivanka’

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A Saudi father will not be able to name his newborn daughter Ivanka after the government told him that he couldn’t use the name, the news website Zawya reported Sunday.

“The civil status department informed me that the name could not be approved because it was foreign,” Salem Al Anzi told the newspaper Okaz. “I pleaded with them to accept the name, but they said that the law did not permit it.”

A 2014 law restricts Saudis from using 51 names, many of them foreign or with religious connotations. “Ivanka” was not on that list, but Al Anzi’s quest to formally name his newborn after America’s First Daughter was nonetheless denied.

“Even though my daughter will not be formally named Ivanka, I will continue to call her Ivanka within the family because I do not see any problem with the name,” Al Anzi said.

He told The Washington Post that he picked the name because he admired the leadership skills of Ivanka’s father Donald, who will be visiting Saudi Arabia later this month.

But a friend of Al Anzi told the website Arab News that Al Anzi’s friends had challenged him to name his daughter Ivanka, “and in our culture, we don’t step back from a challenge.”

Contact Aiden Pink at or on Twitter at @aidenpink.


Aiden Pink

Aiden Pink

Aiden Pink is the Deputy News Editor for the Forward. Contact him at or on Twitter, @aidenpink .

Saudi Arabia Says No, You Can’t Name Daughter ‘Ivanka’

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