Mohamed's the most popular name in the country for newborn boys in Belgium when all of the variations of the name are taken into account, the latest statistical release has revealed.
The official statistics, released by the Belgian government Statbel, list the name "Liam" as the most popular name for baby boys in Belgium in 2017 with 570 newborns receiving the name. The name "Mohamed" comes in at 10th place with 392 babies given the name that year; but when slight spelling variations of the same Arabic name are taken into account, they represent for a much higher number.
Along with "Mohamed", the official list of male baby names from 2017 also lists the variations "Mohammed" (143 boys), "Muhammed" (72 boys), "Muhammad" (53 boys), "Mohammad" (42 boys) and "Mohamad" (16 boys) that add up to 718. This doesn't include other variations such as Mohammed-Ali and Mehmet that would take the number even higher.
In the Belgian capital Brussels, the spelling "Mohamed" alone is the 2nd most popular boys’ name and combined with all of the other variations of the name makes it by far the most popular in the Belgian capital.
French populist website Fdesouche looked deeper into the data and claimed that names originating from the Islamic world made up as many as 44% of male newborns in Brussels. The website undertook a similar study based on French newborn name data and found 28% of the Île de France region male newborns were given Islamic-origin names by contrast.
In the Belgian region of Flanders, the number of boys with Islamic names reached 18% and in Wallonia, the number was lower at 13%. Belgium overall stood at 20%.
Last month, naming data from England and Wales also showed Muhammed and the various spellings of the name to be the most popular name for newborn boys in 2017 for the 6th straight year.
In other countries like Austria, the name and its variations are also becoming more popular with a report released earlier this year showing "Muhammed" to be the 3rd most popular male baby name in the alpine country.