Karim and Rashid's father, who was born in Egypt, has three first names: his own, his father's and his grandfather's. In Egypt it is the custom to use the "Christian" names of one's father and grandfather as surnames. Here in the Netherlands this is not customary. We use a family name as a surname. Unfortunately Rashid's father's family name was not mentioned in his passport when he first arrived in Holland. So, he could not use this family name as his surname. In the first few months of his stay in Holland Rashid's father had no official surname. Through the embassy his last first name, the name of his grandfather, has been officially established as a surname.
When Karim was born and two years later also when Rashid was born the officially established first name of their father also became the boys' surname. Time and again I asked Rashid's father if he could get some official document with his family name and make sure his family name would be added to his passport to make sure the boys could also get their father's family name and use it as their surname. This had to be done in Egypt, but when we were in Egypt in 1986 as well as in 1987, Rashid's father did not think this was important enough and did not do anything. Thus we were not able to use the beautiful Egyptian family name officially.
After I divorced Rashid's father, I tried to change Rashid's surname into my own. I wanted to give my children a proper family name. My maiden name is "van Bommel". To have this changed I had to send an official request to our queen; advice was asked to the organization to protect children in my town and also Rashid's father had to grant his permission, which he didn't. He felt he was giving up his fatherhood by having the surname of the boys changed. That was not the fact. He would always be the boys' father. The children would only have a real family name. My request was denied. The boys would be able to send in another request by themselves by the time they would reach the age of 12.
When Rashid grew older, he let everybody know time and again that he wanted to be called "van Bommel". This could not be arranged before he was 12 if his father would not grant his permission. Rashid was very disappointed. We kept using my maiden name as his surname. Officially Rashid was registered at his primary school with his "real" surname, but in class he was known as Rashid van Bommel. And that was also the name he used for himself. With this name Rashid won Judo diplomas, won swimming medals and finally he also did his First Holy Communion. He proudly let his name "Rashid van Bommel" be heard in church.
Time and again Rashid talked about his wish of having his surname changed. He definitely wanted to send in his request after he reached the age of 12. Then he could be heard and explain to the judge why this name change was important to him. Unfortunately Rashid has never been able to send in his request.
Also on his deathbed Rashid still called himself "Rashid van Bommel" and said to Jesus, who came for him, that he was ready.
Unfortunately it is no longer possible for me to have Rashid's surname changed posthumously. How can I prove that this was what Rashid wanted? If I saw any possibilities to do so I would certainly try.
Rashid was buried with his official surnam, which he did not like. To avoid the "surname-problem" I did not use any surname on Rashid's obituary nor on the cards; for the same reason his surname is not mentioned on his tombstone. There is but one Rashid and he and I know his real name.