A Florida woman who shares the same name as the Islamist militant group commonly known by the acronym ISIS is fed up.
Miami resident Isis Martinez, 38, has launched an online petition demanding that the media stop using the term ISIS, which stands for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, because people are improperly associating the acronym with her first name. Instead, she argues, the media and others should refer to the group as ISIL, which stands for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
Liz Peek of the Fiscal Times explains the difference between the two terms: "The Levant describes a territory far greater than simply Iraq and Syria. It’s defined as this: The Levant today consists of the island of Cyprus, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, and part of southern Turkey."
Martinez's petition, which as of press time had about 1,200 signatures, points out that several governmental organizations employ the ISIL name. In a confessional-style YouTube video, she notes that even the U.S. State Department uses ISIL "when referring to these shameful excuses for human beings."
She also describes in the video how sharing her name with the reviled group affects her. "People's reactions aren't improving at all, and I'm getting all sorts of looks," she says.
Martinez says the final straw before she launched the petition was a visit to the hospital. A nurse asked her how she pronounced her first name and then asked if she could go by her middle name, Teresa, instead.
"Her face showed such incredible sadness for me," Martinez says. "I will not and cannot change my name, and neither should the thousands of other women who share this beautiful name."
Martinez was named after her Cuban mother, who was named after the Egyptian goddess Isis. According to her petition, she and thousands of other women and girls around the world are now "suffering" from the name's latest association.