Tuesday, November 17, 2015

What should we call the so-called "Islamic State" or DAESH?

The organisation which has claimed responsibility for the Paris atrocity and which is headed by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has changed its' name several times and is still known by a bewildering variety of names.

I refuse to use either the title most commonly claimed by the organisation or the one it currently claims for itself without inverted commas and usually a prefix such as "so-called" or "self-styled" because I do not wish to appear to accept their own propaganda to the effect that this sadistic gang of terrorist killers is either Islamic or a state. They are most often called "Islamic State" but their official title for themselves apparently now the "State of the Islamic Caliphate."

The Economist Magazine has just republished an article called "What to call Islamic State," a title which rather invites an answer along the lines of "Murderers, rapists and barbarians."

Unfortunately there are rather too many murderers, rapists and barbarians in the world to make this useful as a name for al-Baghdadi's killers.

A name which is widely used among Arab opponents of the so-called "Islamic State" to describe it is the acronym DAESH which is an abbreviation of the Arabic words for an earlier version of their name. It is best not to use this name in the area under their control, as they don't like it and you will be lucky to get away with only being flogged for the offence.

As the magazine says, "There is a long history of pinning unpleasant-sounding names on unpleasant people. Rather as the term Nazi caught on in English partly because of its resonance with words such as 'nasty', Daesh rolls pleasurably off Arab tongues as a close cousin of words meaning to stomp, crush, smash into, or scrub."

It also has the advantage that English speakers who use that term are not appearing to accept the statehood of the group or that it has any unique claim to represent the Islamic faith (so someone who criticises DAESH does not appear to be criticising Islam.)

There is no perfect way to deal with this one, but I will stick with DAESH and add the odd explanatory "(the so-called 'Islamic State.')"

1 comment:

Jim said...

Not exactly big on religion, I dont really like any of them. Though I have read the Quran, albeit in English, and even I can tell you that a state upholding the ideas of the Islamic religion is the last thing that DAESH is.

Now I do know that a lot of muslims say you can not understand the Quran if you read it in English, you need to read it in Arabic to understand it. But to me that does not make much sence, as If i had read it in Arabic I would not have understood a single word of it.

But anyway the general gist of the Quran states that God thinks the things DAESH are doing are very bad.

Now sure DAESH will cherry pick bits of the Quran which justify what they are doing, but its a bit like a christian cherry picking the bible so they are justified to stone to death people who work a sunday shift at the local supermarket. On the whole any person who calls themselves a Christian would condemn that action.

Its the same reason Muslims in general condemn the actions of DAESH, and certainly why they do not represent an "Islamic State"