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Posted by on Oct 15, 2014 in Business, Finance, History, International, Media, Military, Politics, Religion, Society, Television, Terrorism, War | 5 comments

Misnomer ‘Islamic State’ Highlights Dangerous Societal Deceit (Publico, Portugal)

What’s wrong with calling the newest terrorist scourge ‘the Islamic State’? Beyond handing the group an easy propaganda victory by conferring upon it attributes it lacks and doesn’t deserve, it contributes to the destruction of language and discourse by assigning false names and descriptions to all kinds of things, concepts and people. Columnist Jose Vitor Malheiros of Portugal’s Publico describes the damage to society misnomers like ‘Islamic State cause,’ and highlights how widespread the problem is, from Wall Street to Brussels and Washington.[icopyright one button toolbar]

For Publico , Jose Vitor Malheiros begins by recalling Interpol Secretary General Ronald Noble’s plea for people to stop referring to the terrorists as IS or ‘the Islamic State’ and instead use CW for ‘Cowardly Murderers’:

Interpol Secretary General Ronald Noble, an American, suggested a few days ago that “the international community and law enforcement” stop using the term “Islamic State” to refer to the Islamist terrorist organization that controls much of Iraq and Syria – which the groups chose for itself. Instead, he proposed using the acronym CM for “Cowardly Murderers,” a name that, according to Noble, should henceforth be used to refer to a group that has come to epitomize murderous cruelty by filming the beheadings of hostages (not only Western) and disseminating them over the Internet.


Noble’s proposal is not a mere gesture, but is intended to combat one of the most effective propaganda weapons these terrorists have: their name.


In fact, by using the term “Islamic State” and previously, “the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria” – which media adopted quickly, the organization gains relevance and dignity in the public eye that no one recognizes (that of a state). Moreover, it acquires immediate identification with a religion (Islam) which is intended to reinforce its legitimacy before Muslims. On the other hand, it spreads among non-Muslims the idea of an identifying link between terrorism and Islam, thereby generating reactions of religious hatred which is the fuel on which these terrorists feed.


Noble’s name change may not be well-received, but it is clear that media use of the name chosen by the group itself represents a justification and amounts to objective collaboration in an act of propaganda every time the term is repeated on television. “I ask the global community,” said Noble, “why should we allow a bloodthirsty group of terrorists to name themselves after a religion as a pretext to justify their heinous crime that no religion would justify?”


The question is: if the Mafia adopts the name “Sicilian Cultural Association” and Goldman Sachs re-baptizes itself as “The Congregation of Barefoot Carmelites of Wall Street,” should the media begin to use such designations? Or should it consider that the message conveyed by the designation is at odds with (how should we say it? …) the truth of the matter? Or should these updated designations represent de-facto new identities and new objectives for these organizations?

READ ON IN ENGLISH OR PORTUGUESE, OR READ MORE GLOBAL COVERAGE OF THE IRAQ-SYRIA CRISIS AT WORLDMEETS.US, your most trusted translator and aggregator of foreign news and views about our nation.

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  • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

    “CW” [albeit sic] I am all for that. Better, “WC.”

  • JSpencer

    why should we allow a bloodthirsty group of terrorists to name themselves after a religion as a pretext to justify their heinous crime

    Excellent question. CM is so much more appropriate.

  • The_Ohioan

    I’m sorry, but anyone who thinks these thugs are either a state or practitioners of Islam has more problems than being hoodwinked by the media. I don’t think we need to worry about them being “given dignity” anytime soon.

  • slamfu

    They are most definitely a state and that fact should not be ignored, except at our peril. Not only are they a state, but they are a much more organized and efficient than the govt’s of either Syria or Iraq, which is why neither nation has been able to put their lights out despite massive superiority in both numbers and resources. The areas they have taken control of are not in chaos, in fact reports coming out of there make it clear that they are being administered quite well.

    I’m not saying they represent any serious threat to the US, but to label these guys as a mere terrorist operation or a bunch of disorganized thugs is to completely misjudge what it is that we are dealing with.

  • The_Ohioan

    I wouldn’t define IS as a state. They seem to be an amorphous blob whose boundaries change constantly. They are able to govern within each section of their blob, as long as they retain control, much as the Romans governed – with extreme penalties for disobedience to their laws.

    Except for the first and last two (rather important) I suppose you could say they fit the definition of an Independent State. I am more inclined to label them an insurgency in Syria and Iraq.

    •Has space or territory which has internationally recognized boundaries (boundary disputes are OK).
    •Has people who live there on an ongoing basis.
    •Has economic activity and an organized economy. A country regulates foreign and domestic trade and issues money.
    •Has the power of social engineering, such as education.
    •Has a transportation system for moving goods and people.
    •Has a government which provides public services and police power.
    • Has sovereignty. No other State should have power over the country’s territory.
    •Has external recognition. A country has been “voted into the club” by other countries.

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