Yemen bans name changes to prevent terrorism

Yemen’s Justice Ministry reportedly introduced the ban recently in a move it said would help the government keep track of its citizens.
“With a new name people could escape their responsibilities,” Khalid Al-Dubais, a Yemini media relations officer, was quoted as saying in the Yemen Times. “If there is an urgent justified need for changing the name, the court will look into it.”

The name change ban follows other recent steps by the Yemeni government to fight against an assortment of Islamist insurgents, separatists, and al-Qaida. Just last month, Yemini authorities banned motorcycles in a province where al-Qaida had a growing presence, maintaining that militants use them to transport weapons. 

The latest order was issued September 19, after a number of Yemeni judges wrote to the Justice Ministry about an increasing number of people filing name-change requests, the Yemen Times reported.

In addition, the country’s Civil and Personal Status Authority had received a number of applications for name-changes on personal ID cards. In a country that honors lineage as sacred, some were requesting to alter how their father’s and grandfather’s names appeared on their identity cards.

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