David Cameron: BBC ‘won’t to refer to IS as Daesh’

THE BBC is unlikely to refer to Islamic State (IS) as Daesh, David Cameron has said amid calls for MPs and the media to adopt the Arabic term.

Angus Robertson has called for IS to be known as Daesh. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Angus Robertson has called for IS to be known as Daesh. Picture: Ian Rutherford

The Prime Minister told the House of Commons he could not see the broadcaster moving all the way from Islamic State to its Arabic name Daesh, as he reiterated his desire for the acronyms Isil or Isis to be used for the terror group.

Mr Cameron said the extremist group, which includes territory in Iraq and Syria as part of its self-declared state, was viewed by many Muslims as a “barbaric regime of terrorism and oppression”.

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He was replying to Angus Robertson, the SNP’s Westminster leader, who asked for Daesh to be adopted by the English-speaking world.

Mr Robertson said recent attacks in Tunisia and elsewhere were horrific and not justified in any religion, adding especially in “this Ramadan month of peace and reflection for Muslims”.

He told Mr Cameron: “You are right to highlight the longer-term challenge of extremism and of radicalisation. You have pointed out the importance of getting terminology right and not using the name Islamic State. Will you join parliamentarians across this house, the US secretary of state and the French foreign minister in using the appropriate term?

“Do you agree the time has come in the English-speaking world to stop using Islamic State, Isis or Isil and instead we and our media should use Daesh – the commonly used phrase across the Middle East?”

Mr Cameron replied: “I agree with you in terms of the use of Islamic State.

“I think this is seen as particularly offensive to many Muslims who see, as I see, not a state but a barbaric regime of terrorism and oppression that takes delight in murder and oppressing women, and murdering people because they’re gay. I raised this with the BBC this morning.

“I personally think that using the term Isil or so-called would be better than what they currently do.

“I don’t think we’ll move them all the way to Daesh so I think saying Isil is probably better than Islamic State because it is neither in my view Islamic nor a state.”

Meanwhile the SNP’s foreign affairs spokesman at Westminster, Alex Salmond, said in a newspaper article: “We should start by understanding that in a propaganda war then language is crucial.

“Any description of terrorists which confers on them the image that they are representing either a religion or a state must surely be wrong and an own-goal of massive proportions.

“It is after all how they wish to refer to themselves.

“Daesh, sometime spelled DAIISH or Da’esh, is short for Dawlat alIslamiyah f’alIraq wa alSham. Many Arabic-speaking media organisations refer to the group as such.”