Isis Martinez: ‘If I change my name, the terrorists win’

What would you do if you shared a name with a terrorist organization infamous for beheading journalists? One Miami woman has decided to fight back online.

Isis Martinez, a 38-year-old Miami resident, has started a petition asking the media to stop using the acronym ISIS when referring to the Islamic State.

Martinez, who was named after her mother (who was named after the Egyptian goddess of the sky), told Fusion she has grown frustrated by all the negative reactions her name has elicited. Adding to her frustration is the fact that the acronym isn’t factually correct.

“Although the acronym for this name is ISIL [Islamic State of Iraq and Levant] and the [United Nations], 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,” Martinez wrote on a Facebook group she created to accompany her petition.

Martinez said her breaking point came during a recent visit to a hospital emergency room when a nurse made a comment after hearing her name.

“She asked if I have a middle name, and I told her it’s Teresa,” Martinez recounted. “She then suggested I go by that. I felt terrible. That lit a fire under me and motivated me to do something.”

Her first course of action was to tell her story on YouTube.

Then came the petition and the Facebook group. As of this writing, neither have received much support. The Facebook group has less than 100 followers and the petition has slightly more than 300 signatures, although Martinez claims she has received encouragement from other people named Isis and individuals who have a family member with that name.

When asked if she’d consider a name change or using her middle name, Martinez was adamant in sticking with Isis.

“People don’t know me as Teresa, they know me as Isis,” she said. “If I do that, then the terrorists win.”

Martinez acknowledged the pain and suffering caused by the jihadist group, but said she doesn’t think the media should be factually incorrect.

“[People named Isis] are collateral damage, and it’s unnecessary. All this could go away if they just went with ISIL,” she said.

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