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Op-Ed: What is the best way to refer to ISIS?

Some call ISIS Islamic State because that is how they call themselves. Others prefer Da’esh because ISIS hates that term. Obama and the UN prefer ISIL, but have faced criticism for using this term. Many news organizations like the BBC view ISIS as the best term to describe them.
Different people refer to the murderous terror organization ISIS by different names. Some use the name Islamic State because they claim that is how they refer to themselves and we should respect that. In June 2014, Islamic State declared themselves to be a state and started to refer to their leader as a Caliph. According to a recent op-ed published by Israeli scholar Mordechai Kedar in Arutz Sheva, “the area it controls as of today is 15 times the size of Israel. I hereby call upon the world to open its eyes, admit the reality that has been forced on the Middle East and understand that Islamic State intends to stay and has no plans to evaporate. Islamic State is part of the Middle East reality and the world must relate to it as a state.” While Kedar thinks it is a state like Nazi Germany was, he called upon his readers not to try to ignore the reality by referring to Islamic State by other names.

However, many people don’t agree with Kedar on this point. They argue that despite the reality being what it is, to call ISIS by the name Islamic State grants them legitimacy as their extremist Islamist ideology does not represent Islam and they are not a state but rather are a murderous terror organization. As French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius stated, “This is a terror group and not a state. I don’t recommend using the term Islamic State because it blurs the line between Islam, Muslims, and Islamists. The Arabs call it Da’esh and I will be calling them the Da’esh cut throats.”


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