Naming his dog Muhammad, and later announcing it during a public meeting, was not meant to be disparaging to Muslims, San Juan Capistrano Councilman Derek Reeve said Tuesday.

In offering the first explanation of why he chose the name, Reeve said it was a decision made by his family in an exercise of free speech after teaching his children that in some parts of the world they could be sentenced to death for doing so.

Reeve mentioned his dogs’ names Sept. 6 (the other is named America), as the council voted on plans for a dog park in the Northwest Open Space.

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