Manama: A Saudi national has named his baby daughter Ivanka, after the daughter of US President Donald Trump, after his friends challenged him to do it.
Ivanka Al Anzi was born on April 26 at the Maternity Hospital in the northern city of Arar and her highly unusual name was recorded on her official hospital birth certificate.
Her picture and a copy of the certificate were widely circulated on Saudi social media amid support and opposition to the name from users.
Salem Amer Salem Al Ayashi Al Anzi reportedly said that he went ahead with the name after friends warned him that it would not be accepted by the General Administration of Civil Status in Saudi Arabia which has regularly prevented the registration of names that are blasphemous, impermissible or socially unacceptable.
Salem told Arab News that there were “no religious or moral prohibitions in Arabic or Saudi culture against the name.”
He added that a friend informed him that the name means “God is gracious”.
Ivanka’s birth was celebrated with great fanfare by friends and colleagues as is the custom in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries.
Salem was also feted for rising up to the local culture standards of not dodging challenges.
Those who supported Salem said that he was free to choose the name that he and his family liked.
However, those who opposed him mainly said that the girl would have to live with a name that was so unusual that it would prompt frowns of shock or disapproval.
In March 2014, Saudi Arabia’s interior ministry banned 50 given names including “foreign” names and those it considered to be blasphemous.
The civil affairs department at the ministry justified the ban by saying that the names either contradicted the culture or religion of the kingdom, or were foreign, or “inappropriate”.
The names fit into at least three categories: those that offend perceived religious sensibilities, those that are affiliated to royalty and those that are of non-Arabic or non-Islamic origin.
In November last year, a Saudi poet took social media by storm after he posted a short clip in which he recited two verses expressing his admiration for Ivanka.
“For the eyes of Trump’s daughter, I will smile and forget all differences. She ruled the hearts of all people before her father ruled the States,” the poet who did not identify himself said in perfectly rhyming Arabic verses.
The short clip became a sensation on social media, particularly Instagram, and comments expectedly ranged from sympathetic support to the “Romeo” to outright criticism.
Ivanka, 33, described by Business Insider as the breakout success of the family, is the daughter of Ivana, Trump’s first wife.
Specialising in deal-making and design, she joined her father’s company in 2005 and married Jared Kushner, a real estate and publishing scion, in 2009.
The couple has three children, Arabella Rose, Theodore James, and Joseph Frederick Kushner.