Should we refer to the so-called Islamic State by another name?

In the last week we have seen the horrific actions of the group who call themselves the ‘Islamic State’. The horrific scenes in Tunisia have underlined the barbaric nature of this group and the threat they pose to Western ideals and beliefs.

There is much debate about how we in Britain and the West in general should respond to these attacks. One debate which has been raging is about how we should refer to the group, with David Cameron in particular expressing disappointment that the BBC are still referring to them as the ’Islamic State’, believing this legitimizes the group as ‘Islamic’.

The actions of this group cannot be ignored and do need to be reported on and therefore there has to be a suitable way to label them. However there is also a responsibility not to aid the group or increase their appeal by giving them unwanted or unneeded appeal.

With many young Muslims from across the world being attracted to this group, it would be foolish to believe there is not an ongoing propaganda battle happening here. By directly referring to the group as ‘Islamic’ we are adding to the romance of the movement and increasing their appeal and handing them another success.

This group does not represent Islam or Islamic values. The majority of Muslims are appalled by their actions and have been quick to condemn them. By referring to them in this current manner we strengthen the perception that the group is ‘Islamic’ when in reality this is simply being used as a cover to hide their grotesque actions.

There have been signs in the last few days that some of the broadcasters may be willing to change their position on this topic. This would be very welcome and would only be beneficial. Our task is to fight this group in any way we can and that includes limiting their appeal and legitimacy. By not referring to them as ‘Islamic’ we would do this and in this battle every small victory matters.

Article by Mike Hough

Photograph – National Geographic

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