The Sad Reality Of People And Things Named ISIS

Monday, February 08,2016

NEW DELHI: A few days ago, the world celebrated ‘Nutella Day’ (yes, it is actually a thing). As I woke up to my daily toast smeared with Nutella breakfast (hey, everyday is Nutella Day), I chanced upon a very unfortunate story.

Nutella angered a doting mother recently, when the company refused to print her daughter’s name as part of its personalised jars offer.

Nutella’s reason? The girl’s name is Isis.

Heather Taylor, from Illawarra, south of Sydney named her daughter Isis after the Egyptian Goddess, known in mythology for being an ideal mother and wife. In recent year, however, the name has come to be associated with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, often abbreviated to Isis (and also ISIL and Daesh).

The 43-year-old told the Sydney Morning Herald that she is “starting to get to the point where I don’t want to call her name out” as people link it to militants belonging to the Islamic State, also known as the acronym Isis.

Nutella confirmed that they were not printing Isis’ name on their jars, when Ms Taylor’s sister requested a personalised jar for her niece. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the department store Myers told Ms Taylor that Nutella produced a protocol for acceptable names, with the chief executive of Nutella’s parent company Ferrero Australia also contacting her the next day to stand by the company’s decision.

“I’m really quite upset by this,” Ms Taylor told him (as quoted by The Independent). “You are actually making my daughter’s name dirty. You are choosing to refuse my daughter’s name in case the public refers to it negatively.”

Writing on her Facebook page, Taylor said that this was another reason that people stop referring to the group as Isis, joining a number of political leaders, scholars and representatives who prefer that the group be called Daesh, albeit for reasons different from Ms. Taylor’s.

However, this is not the first time the acronym for the group has caused name-sake controversy.

An example is Belgian chocolate maker ISIS, which made the badly-timed decision to change its name from Italo Suisse to ISIS in 2014. The Global Post reported that as the Islamic State began dominating international headlines, customers of the chocolate-making ISIS began going elsewhere for their sweet fix.

(ISIS chocolates)

The chocolate brand has had to change its name, again, choosing to go with Libeert after the company’s owners. "Exceptional circumstances (bad luck!) leads the company to change its name again,” ISIS marketing manager Desiree Libeert said in a statement, adding that “The negative connotations of recent events in the Middle East make the choice for ‘ISIS’ impossible to keep.”

Libeert told Reuters that "had we known there was a terrorist organization with the same name, we would have never chosen that.”

The Islamic State is not just spelling trouble for chocolates. It turns out that Isis, the pet Labrador featured in ITV television series ‘Downton Abbey’ got the boot because of his name.

(Isis, the Downton Abbey family pooch)

Viewers began making the connect between the dog and the terror group a few months ago, prompting a spokesperson for ITV to clarify that the name was a “coincidence.” “Isis has been the Crawleys’ family pet since series two (2011) and was named after the Egyptian goddess. At the time the dog was named, and up to and including the majority of filming of series five, no one was using that acronym to describe a terror group. It is an unfortunate coincidence,” a statement said.

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