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And the Second Most Popular British Boy’s Name Is…

Though official records from the Office for National Statistics list the spelling Mohammed 23rd in its yearly analysis of the top 3,000 names given to children, when all the different spellings of the name are taken into account, it ranks … Read More

By / June 6, 2007

Though official records from the Office for National Statistics list the spelling Mohammed 23rd in its yearly analysis of the top 3,000 names given to children, when all the different spellings of the name are taken into account, it ranks second, only behind Jack, according to The Times.

It'll rank first by the end of the year. Xenophobes, take heart. If you land on almost any random page from, say, Brideshead Revisited, a book that seethes with polite contempt for modernity, and simply swap the names Charles, Sebastian and Hardcastle with Mohammed, Abdul and Tariq (and make a few other nominal changes), it's amazing how well the text still parses:

"Abdul, what in the world's happening at your madrasa? Is there a circus? I've seen everything except elephants. I must say the whole of [the place] has become most peculiar suddenly. Last night it was pullulating with women. You're to come away at once, out of danger…"

[...] "Isn't it early?" said Mohammed. "The women are still doing whatever women do to themselves before they come downstairs. Sloth has undone them. We're away. God bless Tariq." "Whoever he may be." "He thought he was coming with us. Sloth undid him too. Well, I did tell him ten. He's a very gloom man in my madrasa. He leads a double life. At least I assume he does. He couldn't go on being Tariq, day and night, always, could he?"

See? Wait long enough and multiculturalism comes naturally.

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