Fox News host Harris Faulkner accused President Obama of “tipping his hat” to the terrorist group known as the Islamic State by referring to it as “ISIL” rather than the group's earlier recognized name of “ISIS” (the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria). But ISIL, short for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, is the name preferred by the international community and the Associated Press, as it more specifically describes the terrorist group's regional ambitions.
On the September 4 edition of Outnumbered, Faulkner discussed the differences between the terms ISIS and ISIL as acronyms for the Islamic State, highlighting the fact that Obama consistently uses ISIL. After wondering if the terrorist group prefers to be called ISIL, Faulkner claimed, “our president is tipping his hat to them.”
But ISIL is the term used by the United Nations, the international community, and the Associated Press. As AP explained in June, the English translation is taken from the broad territory the group occupies called “the Levant” :
The standard English term for this broad territory is “the Levant.” Therefore, AP's translation of the group's name is the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL.
The term ISIL also avoids the common misunderstanding, stemming from the initials ISIS, that the group's name is the “Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.” ( “Iraq and Greater Syria” might be an acceptable translation, since Greater Syria also implies the entire area of the Levant.) But saying just “Iraq and Syria” suggests incorrectly that the group's aspirations are limited to these two present-day countries.
Even other Fox personalities have used ISIL to refer to the group. On the August 29 edition of his Fox News show, Sean Hannity repeatedly referenced “ISIL” during an interview with former Vice President Dick Cheney:
HANNITY: We have all these radical Islamic groups -- Islamic Jihad, Boko Haram, Hezbollah, Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, ISIS, ISIL, al Qaeda. There are differences, but there seems to be one thing that they all agree on. That is, they want to wipe Israel off the map. And they also want to destroy the West and advance a caliphate.
Mr. Vice President, we have seen the rise of ISIS, ISIL, throughout the region, from Syria -- we lost 4,000 Americans in the Iraq war. City after city that they freed -- and albeit, it wasn't a perfect democracy, but they were an ally and they were a democracy, an emerging democracy, in Iraq prior to the administration coming into power.