The name Omar in the Western Hemisphere

Every now and then, I come across someone named "Omar" in the Western hemisphere. Having a brother called Omar, as well as my family claiming descent from another famous Omar, I am intrigued.The name Omar عمر is a pre-Islamic male proper name. Several of the Prophet's companions were called Omar, the most prominent of which is the second successor to him, Omar Ibn Al Khattab.In Latin America, the name is popular in the 20th century. For example, we have Omar Sivori from Argentina, Arthur Omar from Brazil, Omar Jose Daal from Venezuela, Omar Cabezas from Nicaragua, Omar Rodriguez Lopez from Puerto Rico, and Omar Romano from Mexico.Although Moorish influence through Spain is a possibility, it is hard for me to accept that this is the case. No 16th or 17th Spaniard Or Portuguese would like to be associated with a Muslim/Arab name, not to mention that the Inquisition would not approve of this, let alone social norms.As we move north to the USA, we find that a few African Americans also use the name Omar, such as Omar Gooding, Cuba Gooding Jr. brother, as well as Omar Epps. This is not that surprising knowing that African Americans do use Muslim and Arab names, whether they themselves are Muslim or not. However, that extends to even white Americans, such as Omar Knedlik, the Kansas City inventor of the ICEE, later to become the 7-Eleven Slurpee.The most famous white American who went by the name of Omar, is Omar Nelson Bradley, General of the Army of the United States. The M2 and M3 vehicles are named Bradley after him.Now, how would a late 19th century Christian white American gotten the name Omar? Puzzling, isn't it?




I believe the name Omar has been extended through the influence of Sephardic Jews...which in other terms may mean "Spanish" Jews who were driven out of Spain and Portugal for not being Catholic or intending to convert. They were forced to convert and then were forced to leave the peninsula. Many settled in areas such as New York, California, New Mexico, Texas, Holland, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Brazil, and Argentina. I believe that if you have the name Omar and don't have Muslim background, then it is likely that you may be connected to a small or large Sephardic Jewish ancestry such as myself. I came to know all this when I heard of several customs that were practiced by early Sephardic Jews and then connected them to the modern society of norhtern Mexico and my relatives who practice these customs today.

Many Omars but not related to ISLAM

I would also like to add, Gabriel OMAR Batistuta the famous argentinian striker who played in world cups 90,94,98.

In fact this is strange, there was also an atlantic ocean hurricane called OMAR, and it is not related to a muslim name because the only time they used a muslim hurricane name was Ismael and was succeeded by Israel!!!!

One of my favorite name

One of my favorite name research sites is this one:

I went there, and as I should not have been surprised to see, there are two origins of the name "Omar" - one being the obvious Arabic one, and the other being a biblical Hebrew name:

So the people you mention would have no problem taking a name from the bible.

On the other hand, Eliphaz and his other children (Teman, Zephi, Gatam, Kenaz, Timna and Amalek) have not been used as names in modern times, to my knowledge. So take that with a grain of salt.

Fatima in Portugal

Actually, this hypothesis is rather weak, for instance, in all European countries, there exists many different biblical names, but not OMAR, also there in no Jew who have the name Omar. Hence the hypothesis of being Omar of arabic roots is more propable.

For instance, in Portugal, you will still find FATIMA name still being used till now between Catholics as a result of the arabic heritage of Iberia. Furthermore, in Malta, much more arabic family names still being kept until now .

I agree

The biblical linkage hypothesis is overused, and very weak. I know some insist that the name Barcelona is Hebrew (Bar-Shelono = our coast), while the true origin is from the Barca family of Carthage who settled Iberia (the famous Hannibal of the Second Punic War with Rome came from there).

As for Fatima, the name seems to be both Arabic and Catholic. The town of Fatima in Portugal is named after a legend of a Moorish girl who converted to Catholicism. In 1917, three children claimed to see an apparition of the Virgin Mary, and hence the Three Secrets Of Fatima came to be.

I think that due to this, lots of people in Portugal have been called Fatima since that incident.

Please see my other post on Arab heritage in Malta, since it warrants its own article.
Khalid Baheyeldin

One of my favourite name


On the other hand, Eliphaz and his other children (Teman, Zephi, Gatam, Kenaz, Timna and Amalek) have not been used as names in modern times, to my knowledge. So take that with a grain of salt.

There are quite a few "Timnas" around......just google and there are journalists, tennis players etc etc....and those lesser mortals such as myself...with the name Timna.

Many Ismails too

The name "Ismail" is not uncommon in Latin American cultures either. I've heard claims that many Muslims fleeing expulsion from Granada after its fall went to the New World instead of Morocco. This explanation could account for the prevalence of these names across Latin America.

I doubt it ...

I doubt that explanation.

The reason is that Granada fell on 1492, which is the same year that Columbus sailed to the Western Hemisphere.

There were no big colonies to flee to at the time.

This was also like a Muslim fleeing from the pan to the fire.

The Inquisition was strong in Latin America and did not tolerate heresies. There are record of several auto de fe involving accusations of being a "judaiser" (crypto Jews), but there are no records of anyone in Latin America being accused of being a Moor.

Having said that, a copy of the Breviario Sunni by the Castilian Faqih Ice de Gebir has been discovered recently in Mexico. The explanation is that it was an Inquisition copy and not something that was in a possession of a Muslim.
Khalid Baheyeldin


Yes your calim is true.

Many Arabs "Mudejars or moriscos" were brought for agricultural and skilled labor reasons.

Arabs and Berbers were 82% of Andalucias population. It would have been a huge catastrophie if they all left.

Many were brought under the guise of being Catholic. Surnames such as Alaniz, Banderas, Medina, Cordova and many more are of Arab origin.

One needs to look at the facial features alone to see Arab traits all through out Latin America.