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Thursday, 10 October, 2002, 21:19 GMT 22:19 UK
God becomes Who I Am
Osama Bin Laden
German courts refused to let a baby be named Osama
An American veteran of the Vietnam war who lost his legal bid to change his name to God has decided to call himself I Am Who I Am instead.

The former Charles Haffey said he searched the Bible for a backup name after a judge rejected his first choice in April.

My first name, of course, would be I Am

I Am Who I Am

He drew on a passage where Moses asks God who he is and is told: "I am who I am or I will be who I will be".

"That's kind of wordy," the former Mr Haffey said. "So I'm just going for I Am Who I Am as my full legal name. My first name, of course, would be I Am."

The 55-year-old said he hoped the name change would free him from feelings of anxiety and rage that have plagued him since he served in Vietnam.

"I was fatally wounded in the mind and the spirit," he said. "I didn't suffer any bodily injury. It's just what I saw, what I did. I killed myself."

Hitler
German law forbids taking the name Hitler
Mr Who I Am turned to Christianity and was baptized in April. Not long afterward, he decided he wanted to change everything, starting with his name.

Last week, he bought a tombstone to be inscribed with his old name. He plans to plant it on his lawn.

He said it will read: "'Charles Walter Haffey, born Sept. 23, 1948, and died Oct. 21, 1968, Republic of Vietnam.'"

Osama

Mr Who I Am is not the first person to have a name choice rejected by the authorities.

Last month German officials refused to allow a Turkish couple living in Cologne to name their baby boy Osama Bin Laden.

The country's law states that it is illegal for babies to be given names that could be offensive or bring ridicule.

German parents are not permitted to name their children Hitler.

Haddock

In Britain, last week a politician officially named himself after seafood.
Austin Haddock MP
Haddock MP hoped his name would make people eat fish

A Labour MP changed his name to Haddock in an attempt to encourage people to eat more fish.

Austin Mitchell became Austin Haddock in honour of National Seafood Week.

See also:

01 Oct 02 | England
05 Sep 02 | Europe
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