Australian rugby league team Isis Devils refuse to change their name despite being mistaken for terrorist group

A district of Australia, named Isis, is known for its macadamia and avocado crops and has a rugby league club named the Isis Devils

Jack de Menezes@JackdeMenezes
Tuesday 01 December 2015 12:05
The Isis Club in the Australian district of Isis, located near Bundaberg
The Isis Club in the Australian district of Isis, located near Bundaberg

An Australian rugby league team has refused to change its name despite being called the Isis Devils.

Residents living in the Isis district of Queensland have rejected suggestions that they should consider a name change due to the links with the terrorist organisation of the same name, and locals have stressed that the region has no ties whatsoever with those responsible for terrorist attacks across the world.

Instead, they have revealed that many have congratulated the local council on persisting with the name Isis – which is famous in Australia for its macadamia and avocado crops.

The Isis district is located south of Bundaberg and spans just over 1,700 sq km, with its central town of Childers home to approximately 7,000 people.

The Isis Devils line up ahead of last year's Grand Final

A spokesman for the Isis Devils stressed that the club will continue to play under its current name, and added that they hope the terrorist group will cease to exist “in the next few months” to remove the confusion between them.

“We’ve had this name for a long time and other places can do what they like, really,” Kevin Grant said. “We’ve been Isis for a long time. Newcomers come along and adopt our name. We’re not going to change.

“In the next six months they might not exist, with a bit of luck.”

The Isis Devils made it to the Bundaberg rugby league grand final last year, and because the match would be televised by ABC Grandstand, the club were asked to change their name due to the publicity it would receive.

“The league was trying to get us to change our name then and we really dug our heels in,” Grant added. “We said, ‘Nah, we’re quite happy to wear this.’ ”

The Isis district RLFC president and former Isis mayor, Bill Trevor, added that the name clash had caused “a bit of mirth” for the club, and he even addressed rumours that authorities could have been listening in to communications at the club involving the word Isis.

“They say intelligence agencies listen in to keywords on telephone conversations –well, if they’ve been tapping conversations with some of ours, it would be pretty boring lately, talking about football,” Trevor told ABC last year.

Speaking to the Guardian Australia, Bundaberg regional councillor Tony Ricciardi defended the district’s name and said there are no plans to even consider changing it.

“In fact, I’ve had a lot of people congratulating me for taking the stance that I did,” Ricciardi said. “I knew that would be the case in that part of the world. The Isis has always been that, back to the 1870s.”

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