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Islamic State by any other name is still Islamic State.

Whenever the BBC reporters and news readers talk about the organisation known as Islamic State (IS), they usually refer to it as the so-called Islamic State. Why so-called? Where has the habit come from? Islamic state is Islamic State, not so-called Islamic State. So-called is an adjective used to show that something or someone is commonly designated by the name or term specified or used to express one’s view that such a name or term is inappropriate. (Google definition.) Does either of these definitions apply to Islamic State? Maybe in the beginning when there was confusion over the name of the organisation but not now, surely?

There are alternative names for Islamic State: Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Islamic State of Iran and Syria (ISIS), the Arabic-derived term Dawlat al-Islamiyah f’al-Iraq wa al-Sham (Daesh), an earlier French term EIIL ( L’Etat Islamique en Irak et en Syrie) and other even older names but the point is the BBC cannot continue to ascribe the so-called status to Islamic State forever. Pick a name and go with it. We all know about IS’s existence, its aims (to establish a caliphate state in the Middle East and maybe elsewhere), its methods of operation (brutal and rooted in 14th century savagery), and its intolerance to anybody who is not a Muslim.

IS is not so-called anymore. IS is IS. It’s real and it’s terrifying.


Footnote.  IS is IS.  It’s not every day you get to write a sentence where every word is spelt the same and the object is the same as the subject.