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U.S. woman named Isis upset by ISIS acronym

Isis Martinez, 38, started a internet campaign to get media outlets to stop referring to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria as ‘ISIS’

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Sharing a name with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militant group has become too much to bear for Isis Martinez, a 38-year-old woman from Florida, who has started a campaign to get the group referred to by a different acronym.

Martinez, who was named after her mother (who was named after the Egyptian sky goddess), told news and lifestyle site Fusion that she has grown tired by all the negative responses from people hearing her name.

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As U.S. President Barack Obama announces plans to “degrade, and ultimately destroy” the group, which has conquered vast swathes of Iraq and Syria and then enraged Americans by beheading U.S. journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, Martinez wrote on her campaign’s Facebook page that “the past several weeks have been incredibly challenging.”

“Although the acronym for this name is ISIL [Islamic State of Iraq and Levant] and the UN, the U.S. State Department and even the Associated Press have made it clear that this is the correct name to use when referring to these shameful excuses for human beings,” she continued.

However, according to Martinez, the worst was yet to come. When an emergency room nurse asked her how she pronounced her name, and Isis told her, the nurse then displayed “such incredible sadness for me.”

Martinez’s online petition has so far garnered 318 signatures, out of her target of 1,000.

Another separate yet concerned party is David Emami, who told Portland-based TV station KATU that he was not happy how regularly the name of his three-year-old daughter, Isis, is being misused.

“She's named after an Egyptian goddess. To see it be misused in such a form it's gut-wrenching, it hurts,” he said.

Forced change

The impact of ISIS’s name is not only linked to individuals.

Earlier this month, U.S. mobile payments firm Isis officially changed its name to Softcard, completing the process of distancing itself from the militant group.

“However coincidental, we have no desire to share a name with this group and our hearts go out to those affected by this violence,” chief executive Michael Abbott said in a statement.

Another victim was ISIS Mag, a London-based hair and beauty magazine for women of African descent, recently changed their logo so that the “Mag” is much more prominent in the title.

“We started getting messages from our Facebook page that we were part of the terrorist organization, so I said to my business partner 'we have to rebrand,'” Linda Graham, founder of ISIS Mag, told Russia Today.

Obama’s choice

With U.S. media outlets and the Obama administration choosing to refer to the group by different names, NBC News host Chuck Todd last week attempted to explain.

“Obviously we refer to it at NBC News as ISIS. The Obama administration, president, says the word ISIL. The last S stands for Syria, the last L they don’t want to have stand for Syria,” Todd told a panel after an interview where he and Obama had used different acronyms to refer to the group.

According to the Washington Post, the issue of the group’s name was even debated at length in the Capitol last week. As a result, House Democrats decided after they too would call refer to the militant group as ISIL.