Isis flag
Tory MP Rehman Chishti spoke to IBTimes UK about his campaign to combat Isis propaganda Getty

The so called Islamic State (Isis) has perversely captivated the world with its high-definition execution videos and sickening social media campaigns.

The propaganda operation has allowed the terrorist group to spread their anti-Western, ultra-conservative Islamic doctrine past the battlefields of Syria and Iraq to the young minds dwelling on the internet.

The material, advertising an extreme and warped version Sunni Islam, draws support and fighters for their self-proclaimed caliphate.

The campaigns have allowed the group to circumvent the traditional asymmetry between nation states and terrorist death squads, inspiring recent atrocities such as the Tunisia beach massacre.

Rehman Chishti, the Conservative MP for Gillingham and Rainham, is leading a campaign to turn the propaganda tables on the jihadists. The Pakistani born politician is pressing his colleagues in parliament and major media outlets to rebrand the terrorists as "Daesh".

Chishti argued that the pejorative term, which is short for the Arabic Dawlat al-Islamiyah f'al-Iraq wa al-Sham, uncouples the group from its false association with the "great religion of Islam" and helps delegitimise the organisation.

"Before the last election, the prime minister asked me to go around the country and engage with the Muslim country," he told IBTimes UK.

"They raised the issue – we need to get our terminology right and not link the great religion of Islam with this terrorist organisation."

The Tory backbencher, an ex-advisor to former Pakistan prime minister Benazir Bhutto, also warned that "Daesh" are "being glamorized at every level" and linking the group to Islam can "feed Islamophobia"

Chishti is following in the footsteps of the French and Turkish governments, who have dropped the term. So far 140 MPs have signed up to the campaign, including Mayor of London Boris Johnson and the deputy leader of the DUP Nigel Dodds.

Elsewhere, the Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond opted to use the 'D' word when he faced a grilling from a group of MPs over his Tunisia terror attack warning, and Theresa May, the home secretary, seems to support the re-branding, going by her latest media interviews.

"From where we were a year ago, when no one was using "Daesh", now looking at the statement that the prime minister gave to the house following the Tunisian terror attack, you saw members of the SNP, Conservative, and Labour use 'Daesh' when they put their questions to David Cameron," Chishti said.

Rehman Chishti
Rehman ChishtiTwitter

BBC rejection

The 36-year-old's campaign is certainly gaining ground but he has hit a major roadblock outside of the Palace of Westminster. Chishti petitioned the BBC to drop "Isis" and adopt "Daesh", but the major media organisation declined his offer.

However, there was a minor victory as director-general Tony Hall promised to qualify the name of the organisation in a bid to distinguish it from an "actual, qualified state".

"We will also continue to use other qualifiers when appropriate, e.g extremists, militants, fighter,s etc. To avoid overuse we will also usually revert to IS after one mention of the Islamic State group," Hall wrote.

The Conservative MP welcomed Hall's letter as "a move in the right direction" but blasted the broadcast boss for not using the "Daesh" term because it "may give the impression of support for those who coined it and that would not preserve the BBC's impartiality".

Chishti described the director-general's reasoning as "pathetic and illogical". He added: "We should call someone for what they are, rather than saying you have to be fair to terrorists who are out there to destroy our way of life."

Hall isn't the only high-profile person Chishti has disagreed with as part of his campaign. The backbencher praised Cameron's recent counter-extremism speech in Birmingham as "fantastic" but criticised his terminology.

The Tory leader repeatedly referred to the group as Isil, the acronym for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. "He has to address that," Chishti said.