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'Daesh': French government adds to confusion as foreign minister uses Arabic acronym for Isis

French foreign minister said he would call the militant Islamic group the ‘Daesh cutthroats’

Rose Troup Buchanan
Thursday 18 September 2014 11:17 BST
The jihadi flag of the Islamic State (Isis)
The jihadi flag of the Islamic State (Isis) (AFP)

The French government has decided to refer to the brutal militant Islamic caliphate Isis as 'Daesh' saying that the other acronyms used for the terror group 'blur the lines between Islam, Muslims and Islamists'.

French foreign minister Laurent Fabius asked journalists and media organisations to follow their decision, saying to France 24 yesterday: “This is a terrorist group and not a state.

“I do not recommend using the term Islamic State because it blurs the lines between Islam, Muslims and Islamists. The Arabs call it ‘Daesh’ and I will be calling them the ‘Daesh cutthroats’.”

Often referred to as Isis (the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) differing Arabic translations mean although some followed this version others - including the United States government - labelled the militant Islamic group Isil.

Last year, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi announced the creation of the Islamic State and the establishment of an Islamic Caliphate leading to some news organisations, including the Associated Press and the New York Times, to adopt the acronym IS.

Last week a group of British Imans asked Prime Minister David Cameron to stop using Islamic State, which they claimed legitimised a terror group that had no standing with faithful Muslims.

Francois Hollande: Paris terror attacks an "act of war"

Signatories, including Mohammed Abbasi, from the Association of British Muslims, and Amjad Malik QC, president of the Association of Muslim Lawyers, wrote: "We do not believe the terror group responsible should be given the credence and standing they seek by styling themselves Islamic State. It is neither Islamic, nor is it a state.”

But, according to the Washington Post, ‘Daesh’, short for Dawlat al-Islamiyah f'al-Iraq w Belaad al-Sham, is how many Arabian media organisations refer to the group.

A strain of thinking indicates ‘Daesh’ is a pejorative, deriving from a mixture of rough translations from the individual Arabic words, notably the Arabic verb دعس, within the name, which means to tread underfoot, trample down, crush.

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