So why is the terrorist group in Syria and Iraq referred to by different names?
The militant group originally called itself Al-Dawla Al-Islamiya fi al-Iraq wa al-Sham, which was translated into English as Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham.
While the first three words translate easily to Islamic State of Iraq, the final letter is the catch.
There’s a debate on what the “S” in ISIS stands for. The word al-Sham refers to Syria — or a truly undefined, larger area around Syria, once referred to as “the Levant,” which is what the ‘L” in ISIL stands for in ISIL. The Levant is a region in the eastern Mediterranean that covers a large area, including Syria, Lebanon, Israel and Jordan. The name illustrates that the Islamic State militants want their region of control to stretch beyond Iraq.
The White House uses ISIL, considering it a more accurate translation from the Arabic name. Some say the “s” inferring Syria is tricky for the Obama administration, as NBC’s Chuck Todd posited in Meet the Press on Sunday after his interview with the president.
“Obviously we refer to it at NBC News as ISIS,” Mr. Todd said. “The Obama administration, president, says the word ISIL. The last “S” stands for Syria, the last L they don’t want to have stand for Syria.”
The use of the same moniker isn’t unified. In August, General Martin Dempsey outlined why he called it ISIS, explaining “I actually call ISIL, here we go, right, ISIS, I-S-I-S, because it’s easier for me to remember that their long-term vision is the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham. And al-Sham includes Lebanon, the current state of Israel, Jordan, Iraq, Syria and Kuwait”
Complicating matters, in June, the militants said they were changing their name to just Islamic State, dropping Iraq and al-Sham.
In the press, the name chosen to reference the militants varies. As Mr. Todd pointed out, NBC uses ISIS, as does CNN and Fox News. The Associated Press, however, has also opted to use the term ISIL. The Wall Street Journal has gone with Islamic State in recent months, and often adds that the group is also known as ISIS and ISIL.
There is also discussion that by referring to this group as ISIL it denounces Israel as a legitimate State. The “Levant” reference shows contempt for Israel and the fact that these terrorist want to consolidate the land Israel occupies into a Muslim state, also known as the Muslim the Caliphate.
So when Obama and the US government refer the Islamic State as ISIL, it just another jab at Israel. Not sure of this is the real reason, but since its a known fact that Obama and his Administration is anti-Israel and pro-Palestine, this fact can stand to reason.
“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name still smells as sweet!” — a famous quote from William Shakespeare.
That which we call ISIS by any other name is still a demonic terrorist group, a venomous snake full of hatred for Christians, Jews, and America.