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Australia adopts ‘Daesh’ terminology

(Transcript from SBS World News Radio)

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has decided to follow the lead of other Western leaders and rebrand the self-proclaimed Islamic State with an acronym they despise.

南宁桑拿

After talks with the Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, Mr Abbott has started using the name Daesh.

Daesh is an acronym for the Arabic spelling of the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant.

Greg Dyett reports.

(Click on the audio tab above to hear the full report)

Tony Abbott’s decision to use the acronym comes a few months after the French Foreign Minister Lauren Fabius called on the media to use Daesh because he says the name Islamic State blurs the lines between Islam, Muslims and Islamists.

The United States government started using the term late last year.

The US Secretary of State John Kerry used the terminology at a summit in Brussel of the US-led coalition of nations fighting the Islamic State militants.

“We have made already significant progess in two and a half months but we also acknowledge there is a lot more work to be done. Daesh is still perpetrating terrible crimes.”

At a news conference at the Pentagon last month, Lieutenant General James Terry explained why he had started using Daesh.

“Daesh is a- it’s a term that our partners in the Gulf use. It speaks to a name that’s very close to ISIL in Arabic and it also speaks to another name that means ‘to crush underneath your foot’.” And so it’s a regional acronym for Daesh and I would just say that our partners, at least the ones that I work with, ask us to use that because they feel that if you use ISIL you legitimise a self-declared caliphate.”

The Islamic State hates the use of the acronym not least because of those negative connotations and has promised to remove the tongues of anyone who dares to speak it.

The Forum on Australia’s Islamic Relations welcomes the Prime Minister’s adoption of the acronym.

Director Kuranda Seyit says a change in terminology will have positive results.

“There is a perception that Islam is a problem and I think that it’s very important that we try and avoid associating Islam as a religion in general with these criminal acts or these terrorist acts so it’s really important that the terminology we use coming from particularly the title of the organisation and the names used all the way down to the connotations that we represent through the media. So it’s really important that we do change the way we refer to these organisations because it will help in alleviating some of the strains that the Muslim community are going through at the moment.”