Chinese authorities have forbidden parents in western China from giving their children Islamic names.

According to reports from China, names like Muhammad, Jihad and Islam are among at least 29 names banned in the predominantly Muslim region.

If a parent chooses one of the forbidden names, the child will be denied government benefits.

Names such as Imam, Hajj, Turknaz, Azhar and Wahhab are also on the list. Other names in the list include: Saddam, Arafat, Medina and Cairo.

Reports said the names were banned because they were related to historic religious or political figures and some places – which Chinese are obviously not comfortable with.

It is unclear how widespread the ban is or whether it is tightly enforced.

The naming restrictions are part of a broader government effort to secularise Xinjiang, which is home to roughly 10 million Uighurs, a Turkic people who mostly follow Sunni Islam.

The move is seen by analysts as part of the Asian giant’s efforts to minimise religious influence on life in the ethnic Uighur minority heartland.