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Arabic Names a Hinder in Swedish Banks

Published tisdag 26 augusti 2008 kl 11.08

Skandiabanken bank has been reported to the Swedish Ombudsman against ethnic discrimination (DO) for discriminating against Arabic sounding names.

When Ahmad Waizy from Lindome tried to complete an international payment transaction on Skandiabanken’s website, he was unable to complete the payment as the bank rejected his first name.

After ringing the bank, he was told that Skandiabanken’s online payments system has a bar against names that could be of Muslim origin. Over 4000 people have Ahmad as a first name in Sweden today.

The Ombudsman against ethnic discrimination (DO) has asked Skandiabanken to justify its policy. Skandiabanken’s head of press Lena Hök told Svenska Dagbladet newspaper that the bank was only following the European Union’s sanctions list. This means that certain common Arabic names such as Hussein and Mohammed are affected.

However, Hök said that Skandiabanken welcomed the official report to the Ombudsman as they need a clear directive on the current status.

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