An 11-year-old Saudi has insisted on being renamed Abdul Rahman to avoid carrying the name of the Syrian president Bashar Al Assad. 
Bashar, a sixth grader in an elementary school in Qaisomah in the north east of the country, said that he resented having a name that reminded people of the Syrian leader, a highly controversial figure in Saudi Arabia. 
“My brother Bashar came to me and told me that the family needed to start the legal procedures to change his name to Abdul Rahman,” Hossam Al Enezi, his brother, said. “He insisted on making the change quickly because he did not want his name to be associated with a president who killed his people,” Hossam, the boy’s legal guardian following the death of their father, told Saudi Arabic daily Al Sharq.
The other members of the family approved the proposal and were elated that the young student initiated the move, he said.
“The family saw it as positive thinking by an 11-year-old boy and they are all happy that we started the procedures for the name change,” Hossam said.
Bashar said that his friends, classmates and teachers were “very pleased” with the decision.
“I was even praised by neighbours and the store keeper in the neighbourhood, an Indian national,” he said.
Saudi Arabia has been among the leaders of the movement to discredit and oust the Syrian president. 
In a major escalation in Arab pressure, Riyadh recalled its ambassador in Syria on August 8, 2011, followed by Bahrain and Kuwait.
“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia stands before its historic responsibility toward its brothers, demanding the stoppage of the killing machine and bloodshed, and the use of reason before it is too late,” King Abdullah said in a statement.
By Habib Toumi
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