Denver bookstore named ISIS is vandalized

Posted at 10:14 AM, Nov 19, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-19 10:14:47-05

What’s in a name? Apparently a lot of expensive headaches.

Isis Books & Gifts in Denver has the misfortune of sharing its name with the terrorist group.

Over the weekend, someone threw a brick through the sign outside the business. It’s the fourth time in recent months someone has vandalized the bookstore.

“We’re all very heartbroken (about the Paris attacks) so I don’t know if somebody walking down the street just saw our name on the sign and kind of lost it for a moment and threw a rock through it,” Karen Charboneau-Harrison, the store owner told CNN affiliate KDVR. “Or if it was an ignorant person who actually thought this was a bookstore for terrorists, I don’t know.”

Isis Books & Gifts takes its name from the Egyptian goddess of childbirth and healing. It’s a spiritual store that has been in business 35 years and embraces many faiths.

A problem for lots of businesses

The ISIS moniker isn’t a headache just for the Denver bookstore.

According to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, more than 270 products or business names among active federal trademarks use “ISIS.” They range from pharmaceutical companies to wig makers to phone apps.

Among them is Isis Pharmaceuticals (ISIS).

It told CNNMoney it’s now considering changing its name. No final decision has been made and it’s not clear what new names are being considered.

“Even though people know we’re not associated with the terrorist group, the name itself has so many negative connotations,” said D. Wade Walke, the company’s vice president for corporate communications and investor relations. “It’s obviously not getting better over time.”

Change the name

As for the Denver book store, rather than change its name, it’s lobbying on its Facebook page to get the world to refer to the terrorist group by its Arab acronym: al-Dawla al-Islamiya al-Iraq al-Sham or Daesh. Not only is it an accurate name for the group, but it’s similar to an Arabic word that means to crush under your foot.

And frankly, ISIS hates the term. It’s threatened to cut out the tongue of anyone who utters it.

The Pentagon started using Daesh last year. The French government is on the bandwagon. President Obama has used it too since last week’s attacks.

“Do not legitimize them and their aspirations by calling them a STATE, as in the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham, or ISIS, or the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, or just Islamic State,” the bookstore wrote on its Facebook post. “These names only support their delusions of power.