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Obama's first name

Reader comment on item: Obama's Muslim Childhood

Submitted by Denis MacEoin (United Kingdom), Nov 27, 2016 at 13:57

I have always been a little puzzled that it is Obama's second name, Hussein, that is identified as Muslim. I do not know what precedent there is for his first name, Barack, but I do know that it sounds as if linked to the important Arabic root BRK. 'baraka' means a blessing.

Another word from the same root, 'mubarak', meaning 'blessed', has been used in a nominal sense (e.g. the late Egyptian president Mubarak). Is there a Swahili or Kenyan Arabic use of Barack as a name within the Muslim population?

Submitting....

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Daniel Pipes replies:

Denis,

As I understand it, Barack is Swahili for "blessing."

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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