Islamic State

A militant organization that controlled parts of Iraq and Syria after 2014.


Use Islamic State group or similar on first mention. Can be abbreviated to IS.


Lead by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.


Referred to variously as Daesh, ISIL and ISIS. When using an alternate name is not possible, such as in a quote, explain that it is another term for the group: “Ramadi has been recaptured from Daesh,” the commander said, using an alternate name for the Islamic State group.


Formerly Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), alternately translated as Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). After June 2014, refers to itself as Islamic State.


Daesh is play on words: Da’esh is an acronym for the Arabic al-Dawlah al-Islamīyah fī al-ʻIrāq wa-al-Shām (Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham), used because it is similar to the verb daes, which means to crush something underfoot, or dāhis, one who sows discord.

Daesh has been adopted by some western politicians in an attempt to undermine the group’s credibility.


Do not use the Islamic State to refer to land occupied by IS. Avoid using Daesh and terms such as self-styled or so-called except in quotes; these carry political implications outside the scope of news reporting.