Name changes due to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant

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Some organisations and people are, or were, named Isis after the Egyptian goddess

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, often abbreviated as "ISIL" and pronounced as such, is a militant Islamist terrorist group. It is also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham, abbreviated as "ISIS" (and pronounced the same as the ancient Egyptian goddess, Isis) or sometimes as just Islamic State "IS", which has caused name changes to distinguish other entities from the group.


Version 0.3 of Linux distribution elementary OS, originally to be called Isis, was renamed Freya.[1] (Freya is a Norse goddess.)

A mobile banking app previously known as ISIS changed its name to Softcard in 2014, stating "We have no desire to share a name with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and our hearts go out to those affected by this violence".[2]

In 2015, the University of Arkansas decided to rename its course registration system from "Integrated Student Information System" to "UAConnect".[3]

Tufts University and University of Massachusetts Lowell renamed its online information system, iSiS, the "Intercampus Student information System", to "SiS" – Student Information System.[4]

In 2016, the University of Economics, Prague decided to rename its online information system from ISIS to INSIS (Czech: Integrovaný Studijní Informační Systém).[5]

Also in 2016, Cornell University's Isis2 Distributed Computing Library was renamed "Vsync" to eliminate any suggestion of connections to the group.

Other universities that have renamed their software include Kansas State University[6] and Johns Hopkins University.[7][8]


In 2013, a Belgian chocolate manufacturer previously known as Italo Suisse changed its name to Isis. But in 2014, it changed the name again to Libeert after a decline in sales, mainly in the Anglophone world. The company was founded in 1923, and had only been called Isis for a year.[9]

A British private equity firm changed its name from ISIS Equity Partners to Livingbridge to distance itself from the group.[10]

In 2014, a Chicago business owner named Sue Gantz renamed her store from ISIS to My Sister's Circus because people were taking pictures of her store's sign and harassing her sales staff.

In Queens, New York, the owner of ISIS Nails renamed the salon Bess Nails and Spa because of harassment. The salon's revenue had declined by approximately 30 percent.[11]

In 2015, Isis Pharmaceuticals Inc., a pharmaceutical company in California (USA), originally named for the Egyptian goddess, after observing relevant drop in stock and to avoid confusion, decided to change the name to Ionis Pharmaceuticals Inc.[12]

Also, an automobile performance part manufacturer, ISIS Performance, changed its name to ISR Performance after using it for 6 years to remove the negative connotation with its name. The change took place on November 17, 2015.[13][14]

The Danish dessert company ISIS changed their name to EASIS, citing the "political connotations"[15] their name would have on primarily export markets.[15]

An Australian fitout and refurbishment company changed its name to SHAPE, to coincide with the "best interests" of those involved with their business.[16]

In June 2016, Finnish translation agency Isis Translations changed its name to registered trademark Pauhu Ltd to avoid denial of service attacks and problems with bank and PayPal payments.[17]


A language school in Oxford was named Isis after the stretch of the River Thames which runs through the city

In 2014, an organisation in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia aimed at assimilating immigrants, previously known as Immigrant Settlement & Integration Services (ISIS), changed its name to Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS). Its main concern about the former name was its appropriateness towards clients from Iraq and Syria, where ISIL are operative.[18]

A language school in Oxford, named Isis after the city's stretch of the River Thames, became the Oxford International Education Group in April 2015. Staff said that recruiting from the Middle East was made difficult by the name, and that people searching for their website may be put at risk.[19]

In 2016, the Association for Information Systems (AIS) changed the pronunciation of its premier conference ICIS, International Conference on Information Systems, to "I See IS".[20]


The FX animated series Archer, first aired in 2009, revolves around the fictional International Secret Intelligence Service (ISIS). In 2014, the sixth season of the show began with the characters being told that they now work for the CIA. Merchandise based on the fictional ISIS was withdrawn.[21]

A French rock band changed their name from Isis Child to Angel's Whisper as the attention on ISIL had overshadowed them on search engines.[22] Meanwhile, an American band named Isis, which was disbanded in 2010, changed their Facebook name to "Isis the band" to avoid confusion. Some fans suggested that the band should change their name completely.[23]

In December 2015, the name of the spaceship browser in online multiplayer video game EVE Online was changed from "Interbus Ship Identification System" (ISIS) to "Ship Tree".[24]

The anime series Infinite Stratos also sometimes sparked controversy, as it shortened name is "IS", which is sometimes confused to Islamic State, meaning the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

Given names[edit]

An Australian woman, who named her daughter Isis after the Egyptian goddess, says it has caused a rift in her family because the name is "now synonymous with terrorism and evil". An American woman named Isis initiated an online petition for the media to stop referring to ISIL as ISIS.[25]

In April 2015, the World Meteorological Organization removed Isis from its list for the 2016 Pacific hurricane season, replacing it with "Ivette".[26]

In November 2015, a soldier with the Canadian Armed Forces initially refused to sign a participatory certificate for nine-year-old Isis Fernandes who was attending a school field trip. The soldier reluctantly signed only after commenting to the girl that he thought her name was not real and a bad joke. The soldier subsequently apologized and was removed from signing certificates for children in future.[27]

False attribution[edit]

The British television series Downton Abbey featured a dog named Isis after the goddess, who became ill in the show around the same time as other entities sought to distance themselves from ISIL. Actor Hugh Bonneville repudiated claims that the dog was being killed off due to its name, saying "Anyone who genuinely believes the series five storyline (1924) involving the animal was a reaction to recent world news is a complete berk."[28] ITV called the name an "unfortunate coincidence".[28]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Abhishek (29 June 2014). "Elementary OS Isis Will Now Be Called Freya And Here Is Why!". It's F.O.S.S. Retrieved 27 July 2015.
  2. ^ Kastrenakes, Jacob (3 September 2014). "ISIS mobile wallet changes name to Softcard to avoid association with militant group". The Verge. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  3. ^ "'Negative meaning' forces school to rename ISIS registration". Associated Press. 20 November 2015. Archived from the original on 22 November 2015. Retrieved 21 November 2015.
  4. ^ "iSiS". 5 December 2014. Archived from the original on 5 December 2014.
  5. ^ " » ISIS končí. Místo něj budou studenti používat InSIS". Retrieved 2016-11-27.
  6. ^ "K-State changes renames computer network iSIS to KSIS". kansas. Retrieved 2017-09-19.
  7. ^ Feist, Theron. "ISIS". Retrieved 2017-09-19.
  8. ^ "SIS Desktop Settings" (PDF). 3.8 - Updated system name references from ISIS to SIS
  9. ^ Moodley, Kiran (7 November 2014). "Belgium chocolate maker ISIS changes its name after drop in sales". The Independent. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  10. ^ "PE in 2015: Living Bridge's Wol Kolade on Rebranding ISIS Equity Partners". Wall Street Journal. 1 January 2015. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  11. ^ "'ISIS' nail salon changes its name after harassment". New York Post. 4 May 2015. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  12. ^ "Isis Pharma changes "unfortunate" name to avoid confusion". Times of Malta. Malta. 18 December 2015. OCLC 220797156. Retrieved 11 February 2017.
  13. ^ "ISIS Performance NA, LLC to Rebrand to ISR Performance Parts, LLC". ISR Performance Parts, LLC. November 16, 2015. Retrieved September 27, 2019.
  14. ^ Acoba, Paulo (2015-11-17). "ISIS Performance Officially Changes Name To ISR For Obvious Reasons". Art of Gears. Retrieved 2019-09-27.
  15. ^ a b "New company name". Archived from the original on 2016-05-06. Retrieved 2016-04-18.
  16. ^ "ISIS rebrands to SHAPE". Archived from the original on 2016-05-06. Retrieved 2016-04-22.
  17. ^ "Owner gives up fight – Finnish Isis changes its name".
  18. ^ "ISIS Nova Scotia changes name to avoid terrorist group association". CBC. 19 November 2014. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  19. ^ Coughlan, Sean (20 April 2015). "Language school ditches 'Isis' name". BBC News. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  20. ^ "Attend ICIS and Learn How I See IS - Association for Information Systems (AIS)". Retrieved 2017-06-26.
  21. ^ "This is how FX's 'Archer' will drop the ISIS name in its season six premiere". The Verge. 12 October 2014. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  22. ^ "Rise of Isis forces French rockers to change name". The Local. 23 March 2015. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  23. ^ "Fans Of The 'ISIS' Rock Band Say They Won't Wear Their T-Shirts Anymore". Business Insider. 23 August 2014. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  24. ^ "EVE Online's Ship Browser Is No Longer Called ISIS". Kotaku. 9 December 2015. Retrieved 9 December 2015.
  25. ^ Nsenduluka, Benge (29 September 2014). "Mother of Girl, 8, Named Isis, Says Unique Moniker Is 'Ruining Our Family;' Critics Demand Name Change". Christian Post. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  26. ^ Rice, Doyle (20 April 2015). "Isis removed from list of hurricane names". USA Today. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  27. ^ "A girl named Isis: 9-year-old Winnipegger 'bullied' by soldier over her name". CTV News. 27 November 2015. Retrieved 8 May 2018.
  28. ^ a b Boyle, Danny (5 November 2014). "Hugh Bonneville: 'Anyone who thinks Isis the dog is being killed off because of terror group is complete berk'". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 4 June 2015.