Monday 16 July 2018

Afghan man forced to move house after naming son Donald Trump

Asadullah Poya has been ostracised for breaking with Islamic tradition in naming his child after the US leader.

Afghanistan Baby Trump
Afghanistan Baby Trump

By Amir Shah

An Afghan man has received death threats and been forced to move house after naming his son Donald Trump.

When Asadullah Poya’s wife gave birth to their third child in a tiny village in rural Afghanistan, he immediately thought of the then presidential hopeful.

He had just read a Dari translation of what appears to be Trump: How To Get Rich, published in 2004 by the then-star of The Apprentice.

“I thought, ‘this is a great man’,” Mr Poya said.

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Donald Trump looks at his namesake on his father's mobile phone (Rahmat Gul/AP)

So when his baby came into the world in August 2016, and he saw that the boy had an unusual shock of blond hair, he named him Donald Trump, hoping it would bring him good fortune.

It has not.

Relatives and neighbours were furious that he broke with tradition and gave his son a non-Muslim name.

He was forced to move his family to Kabul, and they have received death threats online.

Mr Poya’s own parents were furious that he had given their grandchild a non-Muslim name.

The imam of the village mosque devoted an entire Friday sermon to the matter, calling the name an insult.

The opposition does not have much to do with Mr Trump’s politics, but with the decision to break with tradition and name the boy after a non-Muslim.

“Every day the situation got worse,” Mr Poya said. “Every day in the house, when I was calling my son Trump, my father got angrier and angrier, until finally my father couldn’t tolerate it anymore.”

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Asadullah Poya plays with his 18-month-old son Donald Trump (Rahmat Gul/AP)

It was then that Mr Poya decided to pack up his family, leave his teaching job and the family farm, and move to the Kabul.

Mr Poya and his children, Donald Trump, his older sister Fatima and brother Karim, now live in a simple one-storey house that they share with their landlord.

But Donald Trump is not liked in the capital either.

On Thursday, five neighbours approached the landlord and demanded he throw Mr Poya out, calling him an “infidel” for not giving his son a Muslim name.

Others have accused Mr Poya of naming his son Donald Trump in order to improve his chances of gaining asylum in the United States.

On the campaign trail, Mr Trump had called for a ban on Muslims entering the US.

Mr Poya insists he does not want to leave the country, and that he never intended his son’s name to be in the news.

He says a local government official in the district where he registered his son’s name posted the identity card on Facebook.

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Asadullah Poya with his 18-month-old son Donald Trump (Rahmat Gul/AP)

Donald Trump set social media ablaze.

Mr Poya said he and his wife had to block their Facebook pages after they received a deluge of angry comments and threats.

One user said four men were coming to kill him, while others called him an infidel or an atheist, a potentially fatal accusation in a conservative Muslim country.

“But a name is a name,” Mr Poya said.

If Donald Trump wants to change his name when he is older, his father says he is free to do so.

“But now it is my decision, and I have decided it is Trump.”

On Thursday afternoon, the chubby, 18-month-old boy was running around the house.

His father called for the high-energy toddler to stop, but Donald Trump stubbornly ignored him.

I would like to see him and talk to him and tell him please bring peace and stability for Afghanistan What Asadullah Poya would like to say to the US leader

Then Donald Trump ran over to a computer and started slapping the keys with his tiny hands, almost as though he wanted to send an angry tweet.

“Trump! Come here,” Mr Poya shouted.

He is still a big fan of his son’s namesake, and says he would love to meet Mr Trump.

“I would like to see him and talk to him and tell him please bring peace and stability for Afghanistan,” said Mr Poya.

“He is the president. He can do it.”

Undeterred by the controversy his son’s famous name has ignited, Mr Poya said that if he has a fourth child and it is a girl he would like to name her after President Trump’s daughter, though he had to be reminded of her name.

“Ivanka Trump” is unlikely to be any less divisive.

Press Association

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