President Obama usually says “ISIL,” but you are more likely to hear “ISIS” on the news. So how do you know which one to use?
We asked University of Houston Political Science Professor, Cyrus Contractor, to explain the difference.
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“It’s the same organization. The difference is which English acronym we are using for the Arabic that members of ISIS use,” Contractor says.
So it boils down primarily to geography.
“ISIS is the Islamic state in Iraq and Syria. ISIL is the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant.”
Levant is French for “rising” and refers to Mediterranean lands east of Italy, including Cyprus, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, and part of southern Turkey.