What does Daesh mean?

What does Daesh mean? ISIS ‘threatens to cut out the tongues’ of anyone using this word

Google searches for the term have leapt as world leaders begin to use the term in place of ISIS – but what does it mean, and why does Islamic State hate the word so much?

The word ‘Daesh’ has been used with increasing frequency by world leaders and the media in place of Islamic State.

In the wake of the US dropping the ‘mother of all bombs’, Afghanistan minister Waziri referred to the terror group as Daesh.

Meanwhile earlier this week, Prime Minister Theresa May referred to “the Royal Air Force flying missions against Daesh over the skies of Syria and Iraq”.

The term has gained in popularity over the last few years in place of the more commonly used ‘ISIS’, ‘ISIL’ or ‘IS’ – and there’s a reason why.

Daesh is an acronym for the Arabic phrase al-Dawla al-Islamiya al-Iraq al-Sham (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant).

Essentially, it’s another word for ISIS – but apparently it’s one that ISIS militants do not favour.

RAF Typhoons bomb a Daesh HQ
This image of RAF Typhoons dripping a bomb referred to ‘Daesh’ (Photo: Youtube/ Ministry of Defence)

Why? Because it is similar to the Arabic words ‘Daes‘, ‘one who crushes something underfoot’ and ‘Dahes‘, translated as ‘one who sows discord’.

In January 2015, then Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced that he would begin referring to the Islamic State group by this name, saying: “Daesh hates being referred to by this term, and what they don’t like has an instinctive appeal to me.”

Other world leaders followed suit, includng French president Francois Hollande and the USA’s secretary of state John Kerry.

According to NBC, ISIS has reportedly threatened to ‘cut out the tongues’ of anyone it hears using the term.

Evan Kohlmann, a national security analyst, told NBC: “It’s a derogatory term and not something people should use even if you dislike them.”

In June 2015, Downing Street asked the BBC to refer to ISIS as ‘Isil’ – but they have now relabelled the terror group for the second time.

During a speech on Syria, former Prime Minister David Cameron repeatedly referred to the terrorists as Daesh, a word ISIS despises, but that is being used with increasing frequency.

The term has grown in popularity since the Paris terror attacks in November 2015 when a series of coordinated terror attacks left at least 129 people dead  .


About eslkevin

I am a peace educator who has taken time to teach and work in countries such as the USA, Germany, Japan, Nicaragua, Mexico, the UAE, Kuwait, Oman over the past 4 decades.
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