Man flying the Islamic State flag
Man flying the Islamic State flag

Tony Abbott calls ISIL by offensive name

PRIME Minister Tony Abbott has taken to referring to the brutal ISIL death cult as Daesh - a name they despise.

The move comes after allies in the Middle East asked the Western world not to use the group's other monikers, such as Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, for fears it would legitimise their ambitions.

It is understood Daesh is an acronym formed from the Arabic spelling of the terror group's name, but it is not clear why the group takes offence to it.

Leaders and governments worldwide, including those across the Arab world, have started to adopt the phrase when referring to the group.

Mr Abbott, who started using the term last week during his surprise visit to the Middle East, told News Ltd he did not care if the group took offence to it.

"Daesh hates being referred to by this term and what they do not like has an instinctive appeal to me," Mr Abbott said.

"I absolutely refuse to refer to it by the title that it claims for itself (Islamic State), because I think this is a perversion of religion and a travesty of governance."

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said on Monday he fully supported the PM's decision to refer to the murderous terrorist group as Daesh.

He said both sides of politics were united in their fight against terrorism.

"When it comes to fighting terrorism we are all in this together," Mr Shorten said.

"If Tony Abbott has got advice from the security agencies that this assists us by changing the name of what we call them, I am all for it.

"If it helps in making Australia safer, changing what we call this terrible organisation, well then we should."

Associated Press reported last year militants had threatened to cut the tongue of anyone who publicly used the acronym Daesh when referring to the group.