Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant

Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant

الدولة الإسلامية في العراق والشام
ad-Dawlah al-Islāmiyah fī 'l-ʿIrāq wa-sh-Shām

Participant in the Iraq War (2003–2011), Iraqi insurgency, Syrian Civil War, Iraqi Civil War, Second Libyan Civil War, Boko Haram insurgency, War in North-West Pakistan, War in Afghanistan, Yemeni Civil War, and other conflicts

Primary target of Operation Inherent Resolve and of the military intervention against ISIL: in Syria, Iraq, Libya, and Nigeria.
Black Standard[1]
Ideology Salafism, [9] [10] [11]
Salafi jihadism, [11] [12]
Wahhabism [12] [13]
Headquarters Mayadin, Syria
(de facto capital) [32]
Area of operations Syrian, Iraqi, and Lebanese insurgencies.png
Areas of control as of May 16, 2017, in the Iraqi, Syrian, and Lebanese conflicts
Originated as Jama'at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad (1999) [40]

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, IPA l/), also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria [note 1] (ISIS, s/), [41] Islamic State (IS), and by its Arabic language acronym Daesh ( Arabic: داعش‎‎ dāʿish, IPA:  [ˈdaːʕɪʃ]), [42] [43] is a Salafi jihadist unrecognised proto-state and militant group that follows a fundamentalist, Wahhabi doctrine of Sunni Islam. [44] [45] [46] [47] [48] [49] [50] ISIL gained global prominence in early 2014 when it drove Iraqi government forces out of key cities in its Western Iraq offensive, [51] followed by its capture of Mosul [52] and the Sinjar massacre. [53]

This group has been designated a terrorist organisation by the United Nations and many individual countries. ISIL is widely known for its videos of beheadings [54] of both soldiers and civilians, including journalists and aid workers, and its destruction of cultural heritage sites. [55] The United Nations holds ISIL responsible for human rights abuses and war crimes, and Amnesty International has charged the group with ethnic cleansing on a "historic scale" in northern Iraq. [56]

ISIL originated as Jama'at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad in 1999, which pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda and participated in the Iraqi insurgency following the 2003 invasion of Iraq by Western forces. The group proclaimed itself a worldwide caliphate [57] [58] and began referring to itself as Islamic State (الدولة الإسلامية ad-Dawlah al-Islāmiyah) or IS [59] in June 2014. As a caliphate, it claims religious, political, and military authority over all Muslims worldwide. [60] Its adoption of the name Islamic State and its idea of a caliphate have been widely criticised, with the United Nations, various governments, and mainstream Muslim groups rejecting its statehood. [61]

In Syria, the group conducted ground attacks on both government forces and opposition factions, and by December 2015 it held a large area in western Iraq and eastern Syria containing an estimated 2.8 to 8 million people, [62] [63] where it enforced its interpretation of sharia law. ISIL is now believed to be operational in 18 countries across the world, including Afghanistan and Pakistan, with "aspiring branches" in Mali, Egypt, Somalia, Bangladesh, Indonesia, and the Philippines. [64] [65] [66] [67] As of 2015, ISIL is estimated to have an annual budget of more than US$1 billion and a force of more than 30,000 fighters. [68]


In April 2013, having expanded into Syria, the group adopted the name ad-Dawlah al-Islāmiyah fī 'l-ʿIrāq wa-sh-Shām (الدولة الإسلامية في العراق والشام‎). As al-Shām is a region often compared with the Levant or Greater Syria, the group's name has been variously translated as "Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham", [69] "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" [70] (both abbreviated as ISIS), or "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant" (abbreviated as ISIL). [41]

While the use of either one or the other acronym has been the subject of debate, [41] [71] the distinction between the two and its relevance has been considered not so great. [41] Of greater relevance is the name Daesh, which is an acronym of ISIL's Arabic name al-Dawlah al-Islamīyah fī al-ʻIrāq wa-al-Shām. Daesh, or Da'ish (داعش‎). This name has been widely used by ISIL's Arabic-speaking detractors,[ clarification needed] [72] [73] although – and to a certain extent because – it is considered derogatory, as it resembles the Arabic words Daes (lit. "one who crushes, or tramples down, something underfoot") and Dāhis (loosely translated: "one who sows discord"). [42] [74] Within areas under its control, ISIL considers use of the name Daesh punishable by flogging [75] or cutting out the tongue. [76]

In late June 2014, the group renamed itself ad-Dawlah al-Islāmiyah (lit. Islamic State or IS), declaring itself a worldwide caliphate. [58] The name "Islamic State" and the group's claim to be a caliphate have been widely rejected, with the UN, various governments, and mainstream Muslim groups refusing to use the new name. [77] [78] [79] [80] [81] [82] [83] [84]

The name "Islamic State" and "caliphate" declaration

The group's declaration of a new caliphate in June 2014 and its adoption of the name "Islamic State" have been criticised and ridiculed by Muslim scholars and rival Islamists both inside and outside the territory it controls. [77] [78] [79] [85] In a speech in September 2014, President Obama said that ISIL is not "Islamic" on the basis that no religion condones the killing of innocents and that no government recognises the group as a state, [83] while many object to using the name "Islamic State" owing to the far-reaching religious and political claims to authority which that name implies. The United Nations Security Council, [80] the United States, [83] Canada, [81] Turkey, [86] Australia, [82] Russia, [87] the United Kingdom [88] and other countries generally call the group "ISIL", while much of the Arab world uses the Arabic acronym "Dāʻish". France's Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said "This is a terrorist group and not a state. I do not recommend using the term Islamic State because it blurs the lines between Islam, Muslims, and Islamists. The Arabs call it 'Daesh' and I will be calling them the 'Daesh cutthroats.'" [89] Retired general John Allen, the US envoy appointed to co-ordinate the coalition, US military Lieutenant General James Terry, head of operations against the group, and Secretary of State John Kerry had all shifted towards use of the term DAESH by December 2014. [90]

In late August 2014, a leading Islamic educational institution, Dar al-Ifta al-Misriyyah in Egypt, advised Muslims to stop calling the group "Islamic State" and instead refer to it as "Al-Qaeda Separatists in Iraq and Syria" or "QSIS", because of the militant group's "un-Islamic character". [91] [92] When addressing the United Nations Security Council in September 2014, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott summarised the widespread objections to the name "Islamic State" thus: "To use this term [Islamic State] is to dignify a death cult; a death cult that, in declaring itself a caliphate, has declared war on the world". [93] The group is very sensitive about its name. "They will cut your tongue out even if you call them ISIS – you have to say 'Islamic State'", said a woman in ISIL-controlled Mosul. [94]

In mid-October 2014, representatives of the Islamic Society of Britain, the Association of British Muslims and the UK's Association of Muslim Lawyers proposed that "'Un-Islamic State' (UIS) could be an accurate and fair alternative name to describe this group and its agenda", further stating, "We need to work together and make sure that these fanatics don't get the propaganda that they feed off." [95] [96] The "Islamic State" is mocked on social media websites such as Twitter and YouTube, with the use of hashtags, mock recruiting ads, fake news articles and YouTube videos. [97] In news reports the name is usually preceded by the term "so-called".

Other Languages
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Ісламская дзяржава
Bikol Central: Estadong Islamiko
brezhoneg: Stad Islamek
čeština: Islámský stát
Esperanto: Islama Ŝtato
فارسی: داعش
گیلکی: داعش
客家語/Hak-kâ-ngî: Yî-sṳ̂-làn-koet (chû-chṳt)
हिन्दी: आईएसआईएस
Bahasa Indonesia: Negara Islam Irak dan Syam
Interlingue: Islamic State
italiano: Stato Islamico
Basa Jawa: Nagara Islam
Kiswahili: Daish
لۊری شومالی: داعش
latviešu: Islāma valsts
Lëtzebuergesch: Islamesche Staat
lietuvių: Islamo valstybė
मैथिली: आईएसआईएस
македонски: Исламска Држава
مازِرونی: اسلامی دولت
Baso Minangkabau: Nagari Islam Irak jo Syam
Mìng-dĕ̤ng-ngṳ̄: Ĭ-sṳ̆-làng-guók (cū-cék)
नेपाली: आइएसआइएल
日本語: ISIL
norsk nynorsk: Den islamske staten
occitan: Estat Islamic
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Iroq va Shom Islom Davlati
پنجابی: اسلامی راج
română: Statul Islamic
саха тыла: Ислам дойдута
shqip: Daeshi
sicilianu: Statu islamicu
سنڌي: داعش
slovenščina: Islamska država
српски / srpski: Исламска Држава
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Islamska Država Irak i Levant
татарча/tatarça: Ğıyraq häm Şam İslam däwläte
Türkmençe: Yslam Döwleti
українська: Ісламська Держава
文言: 達伊沙
吴语: 伊斯兰国
中文: 伊斯兰国