Now let’s make two things clear: ISIL is not “Islamic.” No religion condones the killing of innocents, and the vast majority of ISIL’s victims have been Muslim. And ISIL is certainly not a state. It was formerly al Qaeda’s affiliate in Iraq, and has taken advantage of sectarian strife and Syria’s civil war to gain territory on both sides of the Iraq-Syrian border. It is recognized by no government, nor the people it subjugates. ISIL is a terrorist organization, pure and simple. And it has no vision other than the slaughter of all who stand in its way.
ISIS’ stated goal is to restore the “caliphate” — an Islamic state under the rule of a community of religious scholars guided by a supreme leader, the caliph or khalifah, which is generally taken to mean the successor to the Prophet Muhammad.
In the Capitol on Tuesday morning, House Democrats decided after a long debate that they too would call the extremist group ISIL — partly because ISIS was a name that first belonged to a goddess, and then to thousands of women who took said goddess’s name, before a terrorist group claimed it. As Max Fisher at Vox reported last week, many women named Isis have been aggravated by the acronym favored by most people discussing the Islamic State. Isis Martinez, a woman in Miami, has been gathering signatures for a petition titled, “Thousands of Women are Named Isis, Please Petition the Media to Use the Accurate Acronym ISIL.” She has 138 signatures.