David Cameron will today exclusively use the term ‘Da’esh’ to refer to the terrorist group sometimes known as Isil as he urges MPs to back bombing in Syria.
The Prime Minister will use the word in an attempt to remove the words “Islamic’ and “State” from the debate around the death cult.
A number of Muslim associations in Britain have repeatedly called on the Government and media to stop using the term Isis – short for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria – or Isil, an acronym of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
A Government source told the Huffington Post UK: “Although this is an Arabic acronym for Isis, we are persuaded by those who do not this we should use the English words ‘Islamic’ and ‘State’ to describe them.
“It is also clear they don’t like the word as it carries echoes of terms they find insulting.”
David Cameron and all ministers from today will refer to ISIL as purely "Da'esh". Small but significant move. #warofwordsnotjustbombs— Paul Waugh (@paulwaugh) December 2, 2015
One expert told the Huffington Post Arabi that Da’esh fighters “consider it offensive for a different reason.”
HUffPost Arabi's Ahmed Behiry said: “They believe this name has been coined intentionally instead of "the Islamic state" in order to say that they don't actually represent Islam.”
Da’esh is the Arabic equivalent of the Isis, as it is short for ad-Dawlah al-Islāmiyah fī 'l-ʿIrāq wa-sh-Shām.
According to some reports it sounds similar to the Arabic words ‘Daes', meaning 'one who crushes something underfoot' and 'Dahes', which translates as 'one who sows discord'.
Mr Behiry said: "It doesn't sound like 'dayes', but people who want to make fun of them use this pun to mock them. It just sounds funny because arabic language speakers don't use abbreviations, the concept doesn't exist in the arabic language so the word itself sounds like "gibberish" because it doesn't have any familiar language stem."
In a blog on the use of the word, Arabic translator Alice Guthrie agrees that the use of an acronym is in itself insulting to the group.
She wrote: “They want to be addressed as exactly what they claim to be, by people so in awe of them that they use the pompous, long and delusional name created by the group, not some funny-sounding made-up word.
“And here is the very simple key point that has been overlooked in all the anglophone press coverage I’ve seen: in Arabic, acronyms are not anything like as widely used as they are in English, and so arabophones are not as used to hearing them as anglophones are.
“Thus, the creation and use of a title that stands out as a nonsense neologism for an organisation like this one is inherently funny, disrespectful, and ultimately threatening of the organisation’s status.”
In September last year, representatives from the Association of British Muslims and the Association of Muslim Lawyers wrote to Mr Cameron urging him to stop using the term “Islamic State”.
The letter said: “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.”
The term Da’esh began to be used by the French government last year, with the country’s Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius telling journalists: “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’.”