Saudi Arabia Apparently Objects to .Catholic, .Gay, .Bible, and 28 More Proposed New Top-Level Domains

The Citizen's Guide to the Future
Aug. 16 2012 6:13 PM

Saudi Arabia Apparently Objects to .Catholic, .Gay, .Bible, and 28 More Proposed New Top-Level Domains

Saudi men perform their evening prayers inside a mosque.
Saudi men perform their evening prayers inside a mosque.

Photo by HASSAN AMMAR/AFP/Getty Images

In June, ICANN, the organization that wrangles Internet addresses, announced that almost 2,000 applications for new top-level domains—like .com, .edu, and .gov—had been filed by companies (or any group or individual that wanted to pay $185,000 per proposed domain). The BBC, for instance, applied for .bbc, while Google requested scores of domains, including the expected—.youtube and .android—and the surprising—like .dad.  

Torie Bosch Torie Bosch

Torie Bosch is the editor of Future Tense, a project of Slate, the New America Foundation, and Arizona State that looks at the implications of new technologies. 

ICANN set aside a seven-month period for review and for objections to proposed domains to be filed. The kingdom of Saudi Arabia apparently decided to take advantage of that and has now argued that 31 applications should be rejected—specifically, those that are related sex, alcohol, gambling, and Islam.


Here are all of the domains that user Abdulmjid, who says he is affiliated with the Communication and Information Technology Commission, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, has raised issue with. In some cases, multiple companies filed for the same top-level domain, so Abdulmjid filed multiple objections.

.ummah (an Arabic word meaning “community”)
. كاثوليك (Arabic for Catholic)
.ismaili (a Shiite sect)
.imamat (“an Arabic word used to denote that religious authority over their affairs, and succession of leadership over the community, is passed down through the generations from one “imam” (leader) to the next,” says Abdulmjid)
.gcc (short for Gulf Cooperation Council)
.style (though the comment actually seems to be about .tattoo)

In some cases, Abdulmjid is joined by other Muslims who say they object to requested top-level domains.  

In others, allies come from other faiths. For instance, Abdulmjid writes that the Vatican should not be granted .catholic because “many other Christians use the term ‘Catholic’ to refer more broadly to the whole Christian Church regardless of denominational affiliation. Other Christian communions lay claim to the term ‘catholic’ such as the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Oriental Orthodox Church.” Another objector to .catholic points to the fact that the Church of England uses the word as well.

The entire database is worth browsing, especially the section on objections made on the grounds of community. .art and .church are particularly controversial.

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.



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