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What does Daesh mean? ISIS ‘threatens to cut out the tongues’ of anyone using this word

In the aftermath of the Brussels terror attacks this week, people have been searching for ‘Daesh’.


At least 34 people were killed following three explosions at Zaventem Airport and Maelbeek metro station during the morning rush hour in Brussels.

ISIS has claimed responsibility for the co-ordinated attacks, in which 14 people died at Brussels’ international airport and a further 20 died in the metro station blast. At least 270 were injured.

The airport remains closed and many of the dead are still unidentified, partly because of the severity of devastation caused by the nail-packed bombs detonated in crowds.

Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam had planned to play a major role in the atrocity. He was arrested during a police raid in the Molenbeek area of Brussels days before the blasts in the city.

Abdeslam, 26, is believed to have plotted a mass attack in the style of that carried out in the French capital last year, involving multiple shootings and bombings.
What does ‘Daesh’ mean?

Daesh is an acronym for the Arabic phrase al-Dawla al-Islamiya al-Iraq al-Sham (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant).

Essentially, it’s another word for ISIS – but apparently one that ISIS militants do not favour.

Why? Because it is similar to the Arabic words ‘Daes’, ‘one who crushes something underfoot’ and ‘Dahes’, translated as ‘one who sows discord’.

In January 2015, then Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced that he would begin referring to the Islamic State group by this name, saying: “Daesh hates being referred to by this term, and what they don’t like has an instinctive appeal to me.”

It seems that other world leaders have now followed suit, with French president Francois Hollande and the USA’s secretary of state John Kerry both using the term.

According to NBC, ISIS has reportedly threatened to ‘cut out the tongues’ of anyone it hears using the term.

Evan Kohlmann, a national security analyst, told NBC: “It’s a derogatory term and not something people should use even if you dislike them.”


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