For 17 years of my life, my name has always been mine. In 2013, IS expanded into Syria and ISIS became a synonym for terror.
My name used to reference the Egyptian goddess of fertility and life, and recently I have experienced growing horror as my name has become sullied by beheadings, religious genocide and a vicious war.
I am not alone in my situation. Women, companies and organisations all over the world all share my name, and many of us have experienced real discrimination because of the association with terror.
Well-meaning people have sent me quips and jokes, making light of the fact that when I walk into a job interview I will have to justify my own name.
I’ve had to change my name on my resume, and I have been loath to publish articles with my unfortunate byline.
US President Barack Obama was even accused of being a terrorist for his middle name, Hussein, and on one occasion he remarked that it must have been given to him by “someone who never thought I’d run for president”.
I must have been named by someone who never thought I would want to turn up to a job interview without talking about death and terror.
There have been calls for women named Isis to change their name; to give up a part of their personal identity. But I refuse to allow my name, and the name of a number of incredible women to be sullied by an organisation of terror.
Islamic State is an organisation built on terror, its purpose is to take away freedom; freedom of religion, freedom of expression, and personal freedom.
We cannot allow terror to change our lives, to destroy our freedom.
What’s in a name? A rose by any other name, would apparently smell as sweet. But I’d rather keep my name and deal with the ramifications, regardless of how sour they might be. – Isis Oliver
Top photo by Natasha Jones.