The group called by the Arabic acronym “Da’esh” was originally called in the English speaking press as “ISIS” for ‘Islamic State of Iraq and Syria’. Initially, the western media translated the Arabic name “Shaam” as “Syria” where it could also be translated as the “Levant”. This is the area north of the Arabian Peninsula, below Turkey. As a noun, “levant” is defined as lands bordering the Eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea. The Levant today consists of Cyprus, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, and part of southern Turkey. “Precise definitions have varied over time, and the term originally had a broader and less well-defined usage.” Thus, the group was later called “ISIL”, which stands for ‘Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’. The acronym “ISIL” is now used by White House, State Department and United Nations. The group is now calling itself with the short version of its name, “IS” which stands for ‘Islamic State’. Some Western media have started to use ‘Islamic State’ for the group. Regional countries and France call the group with its Arabic acronym “Da’esh”.
By Dr. Amirkhizi
Former Senior Director of the Drug and Crime unit in Afghanistan with the United Nations
If you like this description of what ISIS means then stay tuned as we have one on one interview with Dr. Amirkhizi on our web TV show coming up in a few weeks!