Boy named Islam barred from French show

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PARIS -- A 9-year-old boy was prevented from appearing on a French kids' TV show because his first name is Islam, it was reported here Thursday.

Farah Alaouchiche, Islam's mother, said she was told by a casting executive for the game show "In ze boite" (In the Box) that her son could not participate if he kept his first name. "Being called 'Islam' for a boy is like wearing a veil for a girl," the casting agent allegedly said. Alaouchiche said in an interview with magazine La Vie that she was told her son "represented a religion that isn't liked by the French."

"In ze boite" airs on French digital kids channel Gulli and is made by Angel Prods., both owned by media group Lagardere Active.

Islam passed the initial selection stage but during the casting process in February, he was asked to change his name on the grounds that it has "a religious connotation."

Islam's parents say they plan to file a lawsuit with French prosecutors for racial discrimination.

Representatives of both Gulli and Angel Prods. said the incident was the misplaced action of an individual employee and did not reflect company policy.
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