A German Court rejected an Azerbaijan family’s request to change their "foreign-sounding" names to German ones, several media reported.
The Azeri family lives in Germany under asylum after fleeing Azerbaijan and asked to change their Islamic sounding names to German ones in order to avoid discrimination in the workplace.
Their request was rejected after they declined an offer which gave them the possibility to take on German versions of their names “some of which carry Islamic associations”.
"The fact that a surname is of foreign origin, or does not sound German, cannot alone be routinely presented as an important reason for a change of name," the administrative court in Goettingen, in the state of Lower Saxony, ruled.
This decision could set a precedent for other court cases dealing with foreigners willing to change their names.
"This is one individual case, but it could be used generally to inform other cases," Olaf Lenz, a spokesman for the court said.
The court acknowledged that they could not rule out that the foreign names would lead to discrimination in the labour market, but said this was no justification for changing their names.