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Why Canadian politicians aren’t using the word ‘Daesh’

In this June 2014 file photo, fighters from the so-called Islamic State group parade in a commandeered Iraqi security forces armored vehicle.
In this June 2014 file photo, fighters from the so-called Islamic State group parade in a commandeered Iraqi security forces armored vehicle. AP Photo/File

Canadian politicians probably won’t start using “Daesh” to refer to the so-called Islamic State terrorist group anytime soon, mainly because the name still isn’t familiar to most Canadians.

Several ministers and MPs who spoke to Global News on Parliament Hill this week said they’d prefer to use Daesh since the term is widely considered insulting among members of the violent terrorist organization.

The problem is that the Canadian public has already been bombarded with a bevy of acronyms (IS, ISIL and ISIS) that all seem interchangeable, and adding yet another name will muddy the waters further.

“My own preference is the ‘so-called Islamic State’ because people understand what it is,” said Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion as he exited the House of Commons on Monday. “With Daesh, I’m not sure many people will understand what we are speaking about.”

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READ MORE: Here’s why world leaders are calling ISIS ‘Daesh’

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Conservative MP James Bezan agreed with Dion’s assessment.

“In Canada here, as long as reporters are still calling it ISIS and Canadians relate to it as ISIS that’s the terminology we’ll use,” he explained. “But Daesh is definitely the more appropriate term.”

Conservative MP Tony Clement said he’d also prefer to use Daesh, but in some ways, it doesn’t really matter what the group is being called.

“It’s still the same death cult murdering innocent people… but the nomenclature is definitely evolving,” Clement said. “If the media can start getting (Daesh) in the common dialogue, then we can switch over.”

The word Daesh can be roughly translated to mean “a bigot who imposes his view on others” or “to trample down and crush.” It also avoids using the word “state,” which some have argued helps rob the terrorist organization of any legitimacy. Leaders in the U.S., France and England have said they are officially switching over to Daesh as a result.

The Department of National Defence and other government departments have continued using “the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria” or ISIS. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, meanwhile, seems to lean toward ISIL or sometimes ISIS.

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