In the wake of ghastly attacks in Paris that claimed the lives of 129 people, you may have heard world leaders refer to ISIS as “Daesh.” And there’s good reason for this change in terminology… because the terrorists fucking hate it.
Right after the terrorist attacks, French President François Hollande gave a press conference and said the following, “It is an act of war that was waged by a terrorist army, a jihadist army, by Daesh, against France.” Shortly after, Secretary of State John Kerry also used the term during a meeting in Vienna, “The United States, I want to emphasize, welcomes support in the fight against Daesh.” President Barack Obama referenced the name during a speech at the G20 summit in Turkey, “Turkey has been a strong partner with the United States and other members of the coalition in going after the activities of ISIL, or Daesh, both in Syria and Iraq.”
The heinous terrorist organization has been known as ISIS (The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), ISIL (The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) and the self-proclaimed Islamic State. However these are all designations that the extremists have named themselves.
Calling them “Islamic State” is probably the worst thing you can refer to them as. That connotation suggests that these roving bands of thugs are a government that has a legitimate claim over a swath of land that they have brutally seized from native inhabitants. By calling it a “state,” you are playing into terrorist’s hands.
Daesh is an acronym for the Islamic State’s proper Arabic name, al-Dawla al-Islamiya fi al-Iraq wa al-Sham, and was used by ISIS jihadists for a while in the infancy of the organization.
However, Daesh’s leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi rebranded the terrorist group and did away with the name because of several reasons. Depending on how it is conjugated in Arabic, the word “Daesh” can be taken as a play on words to mean something negative. Daesh can mean anything from “to trample down and crush” to “a bigot who imposes his view on others.” Plus “ISIS” sounds more menacing.
The word “Daesh” is now forbidden within Islamic State’s controlled territories and it is said that if anyone utters the word they will cut your tongue out.
You wouldn’t think that jihadists who are beheading and slaughtering innocent people all around the globe as well as raping and forcing captured women into sexual slavery would really care about their public image, but they care deeply about it.
The change in verbiage isn’t just semantics, words have power, especially for an organization attempting to recruit members. Daesh has been improving their propaganda efforts to enlist willing men to put their lives on the line for the terrorist group’s motives. Daesh definitely doesn’t want to negative overtones when recruiting foreign fighters.
By calling the terrorist group Daesh you also take Islam out of the equation. This allows the 1.6 billion Muslims who don’t support these extremists and their violent ways to not be associated with these monsters.
So what I’m trying to say is, “Fuck Daesh.”