(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The name Mohammed is expected to become the most popular name in England and Wales by 2008, the Daily Telegraph reported on Thursday.
The name, according to the report, was second only to Jack in 2007, which has been top for the last 13 years. 6,772 boys were called Jack and 6,387 were called Mohammed or a variant.
"High birth rate among Muslim families" is the reason cited by the report for how Mohammed will be the most popular boy's name by next year.
Although Mohammed was ranked 17th, the name's position would be numbered second if all 14 variant spellings of the name were taken into account.
The Telegraph found that of the 3,009 babies called Mohammed, the most popular spelling was Muhammad (1,595), followed by 903 Mohammads, 429 Muhammeds, 349 Mohameds, 39 Mohamads, 12 Muhameds, 11 Mohammods, nine Mohmmeds, eight Mohamuds, seven Mahammeds, six Muhammeets, five Mohmmads and five Muhammods.
Muhammad Anwar, professor of ethnic relations at Warwick University, was quoted by the newspaper as saying: "Muslim parents like to have something that shows a link with their religion or with the Prophet."
Muslims account for 3% of the British population, which amounts to approximately 1.5 million people.
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