ISIS Nova Scotia changing name to avoid terror association
Decision made after staff were embarrassed to wear their name tags and immigrants were confused
An organization that helps new immigrants settle in Nova Scotia is changing its name to avoid being associated with a terrorist group.
Staff at the Immigrant Settlement & Integration Services agency in Halifax say the name has become a problem, because they share the acronym with the jihadist group ISIS — The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
Director of operations for ISIS Nova Scotia, Gerry Mills, says they decided on a name change because staff were embarrassed to wear their name tags, and partners were unwilling to say their name at public events.
She says the tipping point was the reaction of clients from Syria and Iraq, where the terrorist group is operating.
"We did not want to re-traumatize them," Mills says.
ISIS, the terrorist group, is often referred to in other ways. Some call it ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant). Mills says they were hoping the name ISIS wouldn't stick.
New name not decided on yet
"In the summer we were thinking we'll just wait it out... we'll brave it out. But it's not going to happen. The media's stuck on ISIS, politicians are stuck on ISIS, and we don't want to be continually talking about it."
Mills adds her organization does "important and honourable work. We want the stories to be about that."
Until last week, ISIS Nova Scotia had a sign up at the Halifax International Airport that said: "Starting your new life in Canada? Contact ISIS".
Mills says a number of passengers tweeted photos of the sign, and the airport has now taken it down.
She says her organization has yet to calculate the financial impact of a name change. But they'll be redesigning signs, brochures, websites, email addresses and more.
ISIS Nova Scotia hasn't chosen a new name yet, but Mills says they plan to make the change in the next week or two.
She vows not to have to go through this again. "We will be choosing something that will outlive all of us, we hope."