ISIS or ISIL? They are the same scary (terrorist) group; why the different handles? I've wondered this for weeks, but have yet to ask anyone for clarification. I think I prefer ISIL so as not to blaspheme the glorious goddess Isis (an archetype shared by Christianity's Mary and one of my fave childhood Saturday morning TV programs), but that's probably not a proper argument for one over the other.
Since originally posting this, I have learned that ISIS stands for Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, while ISIL stands for Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (preferred by those who don't want our rhetoric about the organization to suggest an attack on Syria). Also, apparently both "syria" and "the levant" are possible translations for the actual Arabic word used.
Additionally, I heard a commentator today say that he would prefer people call ISIL an Islamist state rather than an Islamic state (The former suggesting fanatical extremism and the latter representing legitimate religion practiced on the whole by sane, decent people). I'm not sure most non-Muslim Westerners would "get" the distinction, but I appreciated his wanting to distinguish between religion gone wrong and religion practiced responsibly.