Couple in court for being banned from naming daughter Allah

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Baby-name-784673A couple in the US state of Georgia who were banned from naming their daughter Allah are taking legal action.

The state Department of Public Health has refused to issue the 22-month-old with a birth certificate.

Elizabeth Handy and Bilal Walk say it is unacceptable that their child has officially been left nameless.

But state officials say the child’s surname – ZalyKha Graceful Lorraina Allah – should either be Handy, Walk or a combination of the two.

Allah is the Arabic word for God.

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The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Georgia has filed a lawsuit in Fulton County Superior Court on the family’s behalf.

The girl’s father told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution they had called her Allah because it is “noble”.

“It is just plainly unfair and a violation of our rights,” Mr Walk said of the state’s refusal to acknowledge the name.

However, lawyers for the Department of Public Health said Georgia code “requires that a baby’s surname be either that of the father of the mother for purposes of the initial birth record”.

In a letter to the family, state officials wrote that ZalyKha’s surname can be changed through a petition to superior court, but only after the birth record is recognised.

‘Government overreach’

According to the lawsuit, the unmarried couple already have a young son called Masterful Mosirah Aly Allah.

The ACLU says that without a birth certificate the parents cannot obtain a Social Security number for their daughter.

They fear the girl’s identity and rights as a US citizen will be questioned.

The ACLU said the state’s refusal to grant the family’s wishes was an unconstitutional example of government overreach.

“The parents get to decide the name of the child,” said Michael Baumrind, a lawyer for the family. “Not the state. It is an easy case.”

 

-BBC

ABOUT: Nana Kwesi Coomson

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A Freelance Journalist, Entrepreneur and Philanthropist. Editor-in-Chief of www.233times.com. A contributory writer for Ghanaian Chronicle Newspaper. An alumnus of Adisadel College where he read General Arts. He holds first degree in Bachelor of Arts from the University of Ghana; Political Science (major) and History (minor). He has also pursued MSc Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Energy with Public Relations (PR) at the Robert Gordon University in the United Kingdom. His mentors are Rupert Murdoch, Warren Buffet, Sam Jonah, Kwaku Sakyi Addo and Piers Morgan

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