Don’t judge a book by its title, either

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 16, 2014

What’s in a name?
Well, we know what Juliet believed, but we’re faced with a situation today in which names aren’t always what they seem.
That’s certainly the case with the so-called Islamic State.
To be clear, this is no state. It is a brutal terrorist group whose members are cutting a bloody path across Syria and Iraq as they subjugate innocent people and attempt to establish their vision of a caliphate.
It is a group that has kidnapped westerners and slaughtered them on video, for the world to see. Two of them were American journalists. The next, according to news reports, could be a British taxi driver abducted during an aid mission in Syria.
Then there’s Abu Omar al Amreeki, who used social media to spout jihadist propaganda and pledge his allegiance to the terrorist group’s leader. Turns out Amreeki was Donald Ray Morgan, a Rowan County native and one of the woefully misguided westerners who have tried — and in some cases succeeded — to join the Islamic State.
He’s now in a federal holding cell, charged with trying to sell a rifle he wasn’t supposed to possess as a convicted felon, and apparently going by his old name again.
And consider Brandy Skok, who opened her small business in October 2013, months before most of us had heard of the marauders and murderers now marching across the desert. The name of her shop? Isis Salon.
The terrorist group has previously called itself the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and came to be commonly known in this country as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria — or ISIS.
Skok named her business for the goddess of Egyptian and Greek myth, but the similarity to the terrorist group’s acronym was unsettling for her and, according to a recent letter to the editor, highly offensive to at least one local resident.
Skok isn’t the only one with this dilemma. Executives at Isis Wallet, a digital payment system backed by AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon, announced earlier this month they were changing the name to Softcard. And other companies with Isis in their names are also considering a change, news reports say.
But it’s a lot more difficult for a small business owner who doesn’t have the support of telecommunications giants, an owner who paid the costs that go along with branding that small business and who now is being forced to do it all over again.
While Skok did what was right for her — and considerate to the community at large — in changing the name of her business to Taylor Made Salon and Spa, we should not let a vicious terrorist organization dictate how we feel about particular words, names, or each other.
What if the Islamic State changes its name to Rose?