I’ve made my feelings on the whole “Islamic State vs Daesh” debate quite clear over the course of the last few weeks. The inevitable navel-gazing over the matter was shoe horned into the House of Commons debate on British bombing raids in Syria last week.
The cringe-worthy “Conservative” government went to great lengths to assure the country that it DOESN’T believe the Islamic State has anything to do with Islam, and that from then on, it will refer to ISIS as “Daesh” – a pointless, Arabic acronym which is the foreign policy equivalent of calling someone a “big doo-doo-head”.
But it was telling to watch Britain’s Defence Secretary Michael Fallon break his own government’s new rule just one week later when he was speaking to Fox News’s Greta Van Susteren earlier today in the United States – a rule that he helped to bring into being.
Let us refresh our memories on the British government’s position on this. In July, Mr. Fallon said in the House of Commons:
Understanding the appeal of ISIL and its recruitment approach is a key focus of the coalition’s communications strategy. The term “Daesh” is now regularly used by Ministers in our Government and officials within the middle east and when engaging with many of our coalition partners. However, the term “ISIL” is still used when addressing UK audiences as this, at the moment, is better understood.
Laying the groundwork no doubt, he swiftly followed up with this:
As I said, I use the term “Daesh” when I am in the middle east, talking to our partners in the coalition or the media there. Until now, ISIL has been the term that is better understood here in the UK, but it is certainly worth reflecting on whether we should now seek to move on to using Daesh, which does not confer the sort of legitimacy that the title ISIL—involving the word “state”—does.
And then this month, the Prime Minister finally caved:
…I have already corresponded with the BBC about its use of “IS”—Islamic State—which I think is even worse than either saying “so-called IS” or, indeed, “ISIL”. “Daesh” is clearly an improvement, and it is important that we all try and use this language.
Mr. Fallon soon backed him up, remarking in the same debate:
I myself prefer the term “Daesh” because it is more accurate and does not embrace the word “Islam”, but “ISIL” and “ISIS” have become accepted terms in the British media, and it might be too late to make that change.
And during the debate, the British government even changed its Twitter feed about the Islamic State to be ‘BritainAgainstDaesh’.
But I suppose Mr. Fallon was hoping no Brits were watching when he appeared on Fox News’s “On The Record” yesterday evening, mentioning “ISIL” no fewer than 11 times, and even the dreaded “ISIS” once. No mention of Daesh though.
Well, it’s another example of how our leaders are seeking to condition us when it comes to talking about Islam. They know Fox News won’t stand for it, so they don’t dare. (John Kerry on the other hand, is a big fan).
Well, I’ve said it before. I’ll say it again: Islamic State.