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List of 2019 most popular baby names reveals some firsts for the U.S.

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New data has revealed that for the first time in U.S. history, one of the most popular names for baby boys is Arabic in origin.

The name Muhammad made it into the top 10 most popular names in 2019 for American babies, coming in at No. 10, a climb up by four spots from last year, according to data from the website BabyCenter.

The name Aaliyah, also Arabic in origin, climbed into the top 10 for baby girls as well,  according to the parenting website which collecting information from nearly 600,000 parents who shared their baby’s name in 2019. Multiple spellings of the name, such as Mohammad and Muhammad, were combined.

“This year, Sophia celebrates a decade of dominance as the top baby name choice for girls, and after six consecutive years at the top, Liam has finally pushed Jackson out of the top spot for boys. Arabic names were on the rise in 2019, with Muhammad and Aaliyah entering the top 10 list for the first time,” a press release from BabyCenter announced.

“Muhammad’s been rising on BabyCenter top baby name lists around the world, so we knew it would soon break into the U.S. top 10,” Linda Murray, BabyCenter’s global editor in chief, said. “Muslim families often choose Muhammad for firstborn sons to honor the prophet and bring blessings to the child. The name also has multiple spellings, and that helps a name get into the top 10.”

The list of top names was compiled from the names of babies born in 2019 to parents who were registered on the BabyCenter website.

Data from the Social Security Administration, which also ranks the popularity of baby names based on U.S. birth records, indicated that the name Muhammad rose from No. 620 in 2000 to No. 345 in 2018. The SSA, however, did not combine various spellings of the same name.

Muhammad, which means “praised, commendable” in Arabic, is the most popular name globally, “given to an estimated 150 million men and boys,” according to an estimate from UK’s The Independent. Aaliyah translates as “exalted” in Arabic.

In the United Kingdom, the name Muhammed ranked much higher than in the U.S., coming in first place, with Noah in second and Leo in third, according to the Mirror.

And while the Arabic names do not denote the babies or their families are Muslim, the increase in rankings in the U.S. has come at a time when the chairman of the Council on American Islamic Relations recently shared that his goal is to get 30 Muslims elected to Congress.

“A strong CAIR equals a strong community. A strong community will produce a strong and confident and successful Muslim … So I’m telling you tonight we are going to work in the next years, inshallah [God willing], to elect at least 30 Muslims in the Congress. This number is equivalent to our size and our potential as American Muslims. Including at least two [U.S.] senator Muslims,” CAIR’s Executive Director Nihad Awad said at the organization’s 25th annual gala in Washington, D.C., according to the Clarion Project.

Frieda Powers

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