Should we be calling it ISIS or ISIL? Depends on who you ask

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There’s been some confusion about how best to refer to Islamic State militants in two volatile Middle East nations.

Is it ISIL or ISIS? Well, it just depends on who you ask, but technically, both are correct.

Most news organizations use ISIS, which stands for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. This is how it was first described when it emerged as a dangerous terrorist group two years ago as it carved out territory in Syria.

But where did ISIL come from?

According to the Associated Press:

In Arabic, the group is known as Al-Dawla Al-Islamiya fi al-Iraq wa al-Sham, or the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham. The term al-Sham refers to a region stretching from southern Turkey through Syria to Egypt (also including Lebanon, Israel, the Palestinian territories and Jordan). The group’s stated goal is to restore an Islamic state, or caliphate, in this entire area. The standard English term for this broad territory is the Levant.

That results in the group also being called the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant — or ISIL.

That term is used by government agencies, as well as the United Nations.

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