Arabic Naming Conventions–It’s a World Gone Mad

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/06/02/AR2007060200606.html?hpid=topnews

Four guys have been charged with conspiracy in a plot to blow up fuel tanks at JFK airport in New York.

The four men were identified as Russell Defreitas, Kareem Ibrahim, Abdul Kadir and Abdel Nur.

The last two names jump out at me because they are first names only. An alternate way to spell them in English is ‘Abd-al-Qadir and ‘Abd-al-Nur.

As all beginning students of Arabic know, ‘Abd-al- or Abdul means “Servant of the…” and does not stand on its own, Paula Abdul notwithstanding. ‘Abd-al-Qadir means “Servant of the All Able” and ‘Abd-al-Nur means “Servant of the Light,” referring to two of the ninety-nine names of God.

A quick Google search shows that Abdul Kadir, at least, did indeed use Abdul as his first name and Kadir as his last name. Color me befuddled. Can anyone tell me if this common in your part of the world? Thanks.

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Filed under arab, arabic, arabist, names

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