War on Terrible Names

your say June 27, 2014 00:00

I note with some distress the dodgy nomenclature employed by the Salafist savages who are currently tearing up Iraq. They're calling their putative caliphate ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), and sometimes ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant

These guys claim to be orthodox Muslims despite their behaviour, which is more common to psychopaths, monsters and wild beasts. A really orthodox Muslim would never even dare to whisper the word Isis, because that is the name of an ancient Egyptian goddess. Uttering her name would offend the Islamic deity, whom Muslims believe there is no other god but. (I can’t name him, because using the A-word will upset the Malaysian government.)
ISIL doesn’t work, because it sounds like a brand of aspirin. Also, look what it stands for: Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Nobody under the age of 50 has the faintest idea of what or where the Levant is, and they’d have to Google it to find out.
So here’s an idea. The ancient name for the region of concern was Mesopotamia. Our ancestors were capable of pronouncing words of six syllables, whereas the current Twittery generation can handle only two or three (like “Iraq” and “Syria”). Nevertheless, the name Mesopotamia has great prestige, because it was the cradle of Western civilisation. (You can see how times have changed.)
To confer enhanced status on their embryonic caliphate, I therefore suggest that the Salafist thugs and hooligans name it the Islamic State of Mesopotamia. To confer even higher status, add the honorific “Great”. That would give them the Great Islamic State of Mesopotamia, abbreviated to GISM. That’s an acronym that sings. It also avoids any association with pagan goddesses and aspirin.
Always trying to be helpful,
Ye Olde Pedant