Magazine article The Spectator


Magazine article The Spectator


Article excerpt

Just call them Daesh

Sir: I was interested to read Sam Leith's article in which he appears to argue that the language we use to describe those engaged in terrorism or the conflict in Syria doesn't matter ('Daesh? Sheesh!', 28 November).

I wholeheartedly believe that the words we use are important, and they are particularly vital in the current bid to combat terrorism. If we are to succeed in tackling the extremist threat, we must do all we can to cut it off at source. To do this, we must undermine the legitimacy Daesh needs to maintain a steady flow of recruits. Referring to this group as Islamic State, Isil or Isis gives a veneer of authority to a brutal terrorist cult.

This terminology also associates the group with Islamic society, when the vast majority of its victims are in fact Muslims. It's no coincidence that the majority of Arabic speakers in the Middle East now use 'Daesh'. We should join them.

Renaming Daesh will, of course, not work on its own, but it is an important thread in the blanket of measures needed to combat extremism across the world, and to bring peace to Syria. We need a plan for peace in the region and rebuilding this war-torn country. I'd welcome The Spectator , with its history of thoughtful journalism, to join our cause.

Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh MP

London SW1

A better name

Sir: The so-called Islamic State, Isis, IS, Isil, Daesh, Isil-Daesh, medieval monsters... If it were to be re-named 'Islamic Death Cult' (IDC for short), wouldn't that draw a clear distinction between those who preferred the secular version and the rest?

John Corbet-Milward


Role of Muslim charities

Sir: Amused as I was at being awarded by Charles Moore the new honorific of 'Bubb Pasha', I must take issue with his assertion that I am 'marvellously consistent in ... attacking any Charity Commission move to investigate any form of possible misbehaviour by any charity' (Notes, 28 November). That's ludicrous. Of course I support the need for effective regulation, and the Commission must investigate serious charity mismanagement. Indeed, one wonders what they were doing over the years in respect to the Kids Company debacle? My concern arises over the perception among Muslim charities that they are a particular target for investigation by the Commission. This was reinforced by the recent case involving the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust and Cage, in which even the Lord Chief Justice described the Commission as 'high-handed'.

We all know that fighting extremism is about much more than counter-terrorism and legislation. It involves winning hearts and minds in our three-million-strong Muslim community. Muslim charities have a fundamental role to play in driving social cohesion and promoting integration, particularly among younger Muslims. We should support them better.

Sir Stephen Bubb

Chief Executive of charity leaders' network ACEVO, London, N1

Palaeontological backing

Sir: In all the hoo-hah about 'climate change', no one seems to know any palaeontology. Professor Judith Curry ('The heretic', 28 November) might like to add that to her arguments against the climate change industry. About 10,000 bc, Mother Earth began to warm up. The ice cap receded and has been receding, off and on, ever since. Sea levels have risen by about 300 ft. There is proof of this, in painted caverns that are now beneath the waves, the best known being Cosquer, near Marseilles, discovered in 1985 by a French deep-sea diver, Henri Cosquer, and amply described by the palaeontologists Jean Clottes and Jean Courtin in The Cave Beneath the Sea .

All those wafflers in Paris ought to be issued with a copy. Chinese smoke stacks and Indian coal-burning can have added only a tittle to a natural phenomenon. To think otherwise is simply human hubris. The money spent on international eco-jamborees would be far better employed in reforestation in Africa or the Middle East. …

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