An Islamist holds aloft the Isis flag at a demonstration in Tunis. (Getty)
An Islamist holds the Isis flag at a demonstration in Tunis.Getty

A British MP who wants the BBC to change the name they use for Islamic State (Isis) to "Daesh" is taking his call to the people.

Conservative MP Rehman Chishti set up a Change.org petition on 7 July to get the public to weigh in on whether they want the BBC, other media outlets and the government to switch the name.

In late June Chishti got the backing of 120 MPs — including big names like Boris Johnson and Alex Salmond — for a letter to BBC Director General Lord Tony Hall urging him to change the name in their reports.

Five days later Hall shot back 30 June with his own letter stating: "The BBC would use terms such as the 'Islamic State group' to distinguish it from an actual, recognised state."

Hall said that refusing the request would "preserve the BBC's impartiality".

"Many found the BBC's logic and thinking to be bizarre," wrote Chishti's spokesperson Barry Watts in an email. He said the campaign has now gained the support of some 140 MPs.

"Many countries around the world, including France and Turkey, have already adopted the phrase 'Daesh,'" he wrote.

The phrase is an Arabic acronym that translates as "Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (Syria)". But it has a double meaning in the language because of its phonic similarity to the phrase "one who sows discord".

Chishti's campaign urges that the Islamic State title gives "legitimacy to a terrorist organisation that is not Islamic nor has it been recognised as a state."

Hall is expected to appear before a work programme committee on 14 July.

The Telgraph reports that the committee's chairman Conservative MP Jesse Norman will use the opportunity to ask whether "political correctness" at the BBC was preventing the name change.