Tags: ISIS/Islamic State | ISIS | Islamic State | ISIL | Levant | Syria

Call It ISIS or ISIL, Islamic State's Ambitions Are Same

Image: Call It ISIS or ISIL, Islamic State's Ambitions Are Same
(Stringer/Reuters/Landov)

By    |   Wednesday, 21 Jan 2015 07:02 AM

Democrats tend to refer to the radical Sunni Islamist group that has been gobbling up vast stretches of Iraq and Syria as ISIL, while Republicans are more inclined to go with the moniker ISIS, The Washington Post reported.

ISIL means "the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant" whereas ISIS stands for "the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria."

The extremists refer to themselves in Arabic as Al-Dawla Al-Islamiya fi al-Iraq wa al-Sham with the word "Sham" often translated as the Levant. It is an archaic term that covers the countries bordering the eastern Mediterranean, including Greece and Turkey.

Coined by the French, the Levant connotes the east where the sun rises.

In his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama referred to the terror group as ISIL, and called on Congress to "authorize the use of force against ISIL."

The British government also favors ISIL, according to The Independent. The French and Israelis rely on the Arabic Daesh, which is simply the acronym for Al-Dawla Al-Islamiya fi al-Iraq wa al-Sham.

Media outlets take various approaches to labeling the extremists led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Newsmax refers to the group as ISIS or Islamic State. NBC, too, goes with ISIS.

The New York Times and The Washington Post favor the Islamic State. AP style is "the Islamic State group" or "the group which calls itself the Islamic State." The VOA usually goes with Islamic State militants.

House Democrats have opted to go along with the White House and call the extremists ISIL, though the acronym may sounds odd rolling off the tongue, according to the Post. Republicans have stuck mostly with ISIS.

"By calling the group ISIL instead of ISIS, it implies that the group is not only a serious threat, it is a large one too," the Post said.

The Islamic State is not an internationally recognized entity — rather a name that reflects its ambition to create a caliphate based on Sunni Islam and to overturn Western notions of territorial borders and the nation state.

"The lesson: This situation is moving so fast — the many explainers written about ISIS v. ISIL in June are already a few steps behind — and the Islamic State's identity is changing so rapidly that it seems futile to treat acronyms as a magnifying glass," according to the Post.

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Democrats tend to refer to the radical Sunni Islamist group that has been gobbling up vast stretches of Iraq and Syria as ISIL, while Republicans are more inclined to go with the moniker ISIS, The Washington Post reported.
ISIS, Islamic State, ISIL, Levant, Syria
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2015-02-21
Wednesday, 21 Jan 2015 07:02 AM
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