Daesh Meaning: What Does ‘Daesh’ Mean, Why Does ISIS Hate It?

Daesh Meaning: What Does ‘Daesh’ Mean, Why Does ISIS Hate It?
Kirkuk ISIS Kampflinie – Panzer Enno Lenze / Flickr CC BY 2.0
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Addressing his fellow citizens after the deadly Paris attacks, French president Francois Hollande said the bombings and shooting were an “act of war” waged by “a terrorist army, a jihadist army, by Daesh, against France.” But what is the meaning of Daesh?


Daesh Meaning Revealed

The same word was also used by the hacker group, Anonymous, which said in a tweet yesterday that they are at “at war” with Daesh. You can watch the video of Anonymous’ threat against the ISIS here.

The word – which is essentially an acronym for the Arabic phrase, al-Dawla al-Islamiya al-Iraq al-Sham – is also used as a reference for ISIS, ISIL and Islamic State. However, it isn’t something that ISIS likes to be called. According to Mirror.co.uk, it is because it sounds similar to another word, “Daes” – which means “one who crushes something underfoot” – and “Dahes” – which means “one who sows discord.”

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott had announced earlier this year that he would call the militant group by that name. “Daesh hates being referred to by this term, and what they don’t like has an instinctive appeal to me,” he said. The reference has also been made by other politicians, including Hollande and the USA’s secretary of state, John Kerry.

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Although the acronym was used by ISIS for some time, it has been banned by the group. It has even threatened to cut the tongues of those who refer to them by the word.

As reported by NBC News, Evan Kohlmann, a national security analyst, said, “They hear it, quite rightly, as a challenge to their legitimacy: a dismissal of their aspirations to define Islamic practice, to be ‘a state for all Muslims’ and — crucially — as a refusal to acknowledge and address them as such.”

On Friday, a series of coordinated attacks of bombings and shooting at multiple locations in Paris rocked the French capital. As many as 129 people were killed and 350 that were injured. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attacks, accusing France of participating in the US led air strikes against the group’s forces in Syria.

In the aftermath of the attacks, Hollande vowed to destroy the terror group. It dropped 20 bombs on an ISIS stronghold in Raqqa, Syria. Meanwhile, the manhunt to capture Salem Abdeslam – the eighth assailant involved in the attacks, who is on the run – continues.

In 2014, writing for the Boston Globe, Zeba Khan said, “Changing what the United States calls this band of militants is not going to make them go away,” further adding, “As the prominent Muslim sheikh Abdullah bin Bayyah recently said after issuing a fatwa against the group, ‘The problem is that even if you defeat these ideas militarily by killing people, if you don’t defeat the ideas intellectually, then the ideas will reemerge.’”


  • Naïma Abaâkil

    A lot in the Arabic world were confused as the Miror. When they first heard this word, they associated it with ISIS and ISIL thinking that it is actually is an arabic acronym. But in fact it is not. Daesh is an Arabic word rather than an acronym that Arabs used to qualify this group. I got that first from Arabic Translator Alice Guthrie on the freewordcenter site https://www.freewordcentre.com/blog/2015/02/daesh-isis-media-alice-guthrie/

  • Alison Orr

    My partner is Moroccan and he and is Algerian friends all call them Daesh.
    Frankly, I wouldn’t trust anything written by/in the Daily Mirror – it’s more a comic than a newspaper and mostly read by the less-than-gifted!!!