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What’s there in a name: Rechristening Islamic State as Daish

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By Gaurav Sharma

The territorial and political entity which has wreaked havoc on large swathes of Syria and Iraq since the last decade has assumed many monikers through its barbaric and rapid rise.

Preferring to be earlier known by names such as the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL), Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS), al-Nusra Front etc., the terror outfit since June 2014 has branded itself as the Islamic State.

The appellation was undertaken by the group to highlight and give precedence to the caliphate’s claim of representing military, religious and political authority of Muslims all over the world.

This would help in establishing the group as a sovereign, independent and borderless unit under the self-styled khalif Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi.

Furthermore, the idea behind the name was to underscore the point that with the expansion of its troops on different countries, the legality of all emirates, organizations, groups and states would become null and void.

To prevent the group from staking and propagating to such an ideology, countries all over the world are now rubbishing the name and instead calling it through its Arab acronym, Daesh or DAISH–a title which the group hates to be called as.

One might ask what is in a name, especially because it is the activities of a unit that define it and not the name itself.

Since the group is in expansion mode, the name is part of a broader branding exercise akin to commercial advertisements. The more appealing and sentimentally valuable the name, greater would be the galvanization of recruitment.

In the case of Islamic State, its leaders and followers want to promote the unit as a successor to Islamic Khilafat, established after the death of Prophet Muhammed in 632 AD.

The epoch was witness to long period of Islamic rule, first under the Arab leadership and subsequently under the Ottoman Empire, finally withering into oblivion after the establishment of the modern Turkish state.

However, time and again calls for reinstating the Khilafat under the tutelage of al-Qaeda and Hizb ut-Tahir, have arisen with a view to rule the world under an umbrella leadership, though not with much success.

Islamic State wishes to change the dismal track record. And that is the precise reason why it chooses to be known as the Islamic State.

Moreover, the term DAISH is looked upon as a denigrating term by the terror outfit.

Nonetheless, the name is more suitable and rather synonymous with the modus operandi of the group. Dais, the etymological term for DAISH means “one who sows discord” or “one who crushes something underfoot”, an apt description of the brazen, brutal way by which the Islamic State operates.

Another fact which adds to the credibility and accuracy of DAISH as the moniker for the terror group is the fact that most Muslim governments and organizations have denounced the IS as being antithetical to the way the previous Khilafat worked, viz. peaceful and humane methods.

Most Muslim scholars and clerics have dubbed the organization as “fake”. Politicians have called it “an apocalyptic death cult”.

Keeping in mind Islam as a religion, it would be insulting and abhorrent to term the terror outfit’s Caliphate mission as “Islamic”. More than that, it would be far from the truth.

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The Son Of The Islamic State leader al-Baghdadi Dies: IS

Al-Baghdadi's fate is still unknown

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This image from video posted in July purports to show Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi delivering a sermon in Iraq, July 5, 2014. Islamic State media has announced the death of the leader's son.
This image from video posted in July purports to show Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi delivering a sermon in Iraq, July 5, 2014. Islamic State media has announced the death of the leader's son. VOA

The son of the Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has died in a suicide attack mission in the city of Homs in western Syria, according to the IS media al-Nashir News.

Posting the photograph of a young boy, purportedly Hudhayfah al-Badri, al-Baghdadi’s son, the outlet said he lost his life in an operation against the Russian forces deployed in Homs and the Syrian government forces, referred to as Nusayriyyah by IS.

“Hudhayfah al-Badri (may Allah accept him), the son of the Caliph (may Allah safeguard him), was killed in an inghimasi [suicide] operation against the Nusayriyyah and the Russians at the thermal power station in Homs Willayah,” the news outlet reported.

Inghimasi refers to suicide operations in which a fighter, clad with explosive belt and armed with regular weapons, attacks an enemy position before detonating himself to inflict as much damage on the enemy as possible.

The U.S. military said it has seen the reports of al-Badri’s death but declined any confirmation.

“It would be inappropriate for us to comment on an attack on forces outside the Coalition. We have nothing more to provide,” U.S. Central Command told VOA.

An Iraqi national, al-Baghdadi, whose real name is Ibrahim Awad al-Badri, announced the Islamic State caliphate in the city of Mosul in June 2014 and made himself its caliph. The leader has since become the world’s most wanted man, with a $25 million bounty on his head.

Islamic Terrorism in NYC
Bicycles and debris lay on a bike path after a motorist drove onto the path near the World Trade Center memorial, striking and killing several people, Oct. 31, 2017, in New York. VOA

Al-Baghdadi’s fate is still unknown, with various reports claiming his death and injury several times, including a claim by the Russian Defense Ministry that he might have been hit by a Russian airstrike in 2017.

Those claims have been rejected by U.S. officials and the whereabouts of the elusive leader remain unknown.

Al-Baghdadi’s infamous role in IS has put a spotlight on his family. In March 2014, al-Baghdadi’s wife, Sujidah al-Dulaimi, was released, along with her two sons and daughter, in exchange for 13 nuns taken captive by al-Qaida-linked al-Nusra Front militants.

Also read: Will the Latest Message From Islamic State Leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi Provoke New Attacks in the West?

It was reported that only the girl was al-Baghdadi’s daughter. The two boys belonged to a man his wife had married before meeting al-Baghdadi. (IANS)