Skip To Content

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Fast Forward

Saudi Arabia Forbids New Father From Naming Daughter ‘Ivanka’

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 [email protected] or on Twitter at @aidenpink.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.