Why the Islamic State (or ISIS, or QSIS, or ISIL) has so many names

August 27, 2014 1:48 PM

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The Guardian reports that an influential Egyptian group has requested that Western observers make a crucial nomenclature change. Egypt’s Dar al-Ifta, which the Guardian describes as “a wing of the Egyptian justice ministry … [and] a source of religious authority both inside and outside Egypt,” says that it’s not appropriate to refer to the self-proclaimed “Islamic State” that’s currently fighting in Iraq and Syria. Instead, according to Dar al-Ifta, we should call them “al-Qaida Separatists in Iraq and Syria,” or alternately QSIS. You can learn more by following the group’s “Call it QS not IS” social-media campaign.

It makes a lot of sense that Dar al-Ifta doesn’t want the generic term “Islamic State” applied to a terrorist group. But I don’t really see “QSIS” gaining traction given that governments and the media still haven’t reached a consensus about which of the group’s (at least) four previous names to use.

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