December 20, 2007
What’s the most popular boys’ name in Britain? If you guessed “Jack,” you’d be right. That’s a pretty common British name—in fact, it’s been the most popular boys’ name for 13 years now.
What about the second most popular? Well, that depends. If we treat each variant spelling of a name as a separate name, then the second most popular boys’ name is Thomas. Good Christian—and historically British—name.
But if we treat all the variant spellings of a particular name as signifying the same thing, then the picture changes. According to the Daily Mail, in that case, the second most popular boys’ name in Britain is now “Mohammed.”
It gets better. There were 6,772 Jacks born in Britain this year, down 156 from 2006. The various spellings of Mohammed, however, numbered 6,347, up 411 from last year. As the Daily Mail notes, “if the trends were repeated next year, Mohammed and its variant spellings would be the most popular choice in England and Wales.”
“If the trends were repeated next year . . . ” Does anyone seriously think that they will not be?
When Enoch Powell delivered his “Rivers of Blood” speech on April 20, 1968, Muslim immigration to Britain had been rising for a decade and a half, but it was roughly comparable to the rate of Muslim immigration to the United States today. The name “Mohammed,” in any and all of its variant spellings, was not even on the radar of most popular boys’ names.
What a difference 40 years has made. But we don’t have to worry: It can’t happen here. Right?