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Georgia couple fights government to make ‘Allah’ the surname of their baby girl; is it their right?

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A Georgia couple is battling the state over the right to give their child the last name of Allah even though it is neither parent’s name.

Elizabeth Handy and Bilal Walk have been fighting, so far unsuccessfully, to name their 22-month old daughter  Allah, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported.

The Georgia Department of Public Health is fighting back, citing a law which states the child’s last name has to be the same as one of the parents or a combination of the two except in instances where it is a tradition in the home nation of the parents to name the child something else.

The Superior Court Of Fulton County.

“The parents may designate a surname that is not the legal surname of the mother or father, if that surname is chosen in accordance with a bona fide cultural naming convention practiced in the nation of origin of one or both of them,” the law states.

It wasn’t an issue three years ago when they named their oldest child Masterful Mosirah Aly Allah.

And now the American Civil Liberties Union is stepping in to help the couple fight for the name.

“There are numbers of parents who have selected a name for their children,” Michael Baumrind, one of the attorneys representing the couple, said. “The state has no business determining if a name is satisfactory. The parents get to decide the name of the child. Not the state. It is an easy case.”

University of California at Davis law professor Carlton F.W. Larson agreed.

“Naming your child is an expressive action,” he said. “And the idea that you get to name your child, and not the state, is a fundamental right. The state would need to have a compelling reason for rejecting a name, and I don’t see it. I would hope that (Handy and Walk) would win this case.”

It is probable that the couple is not Muslim as naming a child Allah is forbidden in Islam.

“We have to make sure that the state isn’t overstepping their boundaries,” Walk told the Journal Constitution. “It is just plainly unfair and a violation of our rights.”

“Simply put, we have a personal understanding that we exercise in regards to the names,” he said. “It is nothing that we want to go into detail about, because it is not important. What is important is the language of the statute and our rights as parents.”

The couple is currently six months pregnant with their third child.

“We don’t want to go through that process again,” Handy told the Journal Constitution. “We are still in the process of coming up with a name, and we don’t even know if it will be a girl or a boy. But the child will definitely have a noble title. Something to live up to.”

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Carmine Sabia

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