x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

The other Gaddafi is tangled up in red tape

A Fujairah sailor who shares a name with the former Libyan dictator says bureaucratic roadblocks won't keep him from changing it.

Fujairah sailor Muammar Gaddafi Mohammed, pictured with wife Sara and sons Karim and Yousef, shares a name with the former Libyan dictator and says bureaucratic roadblocks won't stop him from changing it.
Fujairah sailor Muammar Gaddafi Mohammed, pictured with wife Sara and sons Karim and Yousef, shares a name with the former Libyan dictator and says bureaucratic roadblocks won't stop him from changing it.

KHOR FAKKAN // A man called Muammar Gaddafi is trying to change his name - but has found the process tougher than he expected.

Muammar Gaddafi Mohammed, 41, a Sudanese ship's captain and marine superintendent, was named after the late Libyan leader by his father.

He decided to change it when the uprising began - but time and money have forced him to put off his plan.

"I went to Sudan and asked about the process," Mr Mohammed said. "I would have to get a lawyer and go to court to petition for the name change.

"If I get approval, I have to get a new identity card and passport, then change my marriage and college certificates, then change all the documents surrounding the birth of my three children.

"To have my name changed here in the UAE, I would have to go to court here, undergo a background check, then change all my employment documents and my wife's and children's documents as well.

"The process is going to be quite expensive and time consuming but I am determined to do it when I have the time and money."

Mr Mohammed was born in Sudan in 1970, a year after Muammar Qaddafi seized power in Libya. His father was impressed with the young Arab visionary and named his first-born after him.

"My father admired Qaddafi and so did his friends. When I was born he gave me the name Muammar Gaddafi as a sign of respect for the man," Mr Mohammed said.

"Growing up with the name was humorous and helpful. When I moved to Libya after high school and applied to the Naval Academy, I was given a full scholarship by the Libyan government. I think it was because of my name."

But when Mr Mohammed heard Qaddafi and his son, Saif Al Islam, speak at the beginning of the uprising, then saw the slaughter of Libyans on television, he became ashamed of his name. He has not yet chosen a new one.

Mr Mohammed's plan to change his name was well received by Libyan communities worldwide after his story was broadcast on the Al Arabiya news channel. "Libyans started calling and e-mailing me to support my efforts," he said.

"I received a call from the Libyan community in Egypt and they invited me there at their expense and wanted to honour me.

"But my friends and family said I shouldn't go because it could be a trick by Qaddafi loyalists, so I didn't."

Mr Mohammed is pleased by the events in Libya, where the country's liberation from Qaddafi's rule was officially declared yesterday, following the deposed dictator's death in his home town of Sirte on Thursday.

"I am happy for the Libyan people," he said.

ealghalib@thenational.ae