Many headlines are littered with these terms and I have noticed that many reporters use them incorrectly. So, I went searching to find the most succinct way to define each. I kept spelling of the words consistent, but many variations apply, depending on the writer's origin.
Islam is a religion. Islam is generally used in conversation to
denote the religion or community of believers as a whole, such
as, "The Islamic community responded to press release."
A Muslim is a person who follows the religion of Islam, a
monotheistic religion based on the Quran (Koran). Muslims
consider the Quran to be the verbatim word of Allah (God) as
revealed to the Islamic prophet Muhammad.
All people who accept the religion of Islam are Muslim, but
not all Muslims follow the religion of Islam, just as all Methodists,
etc. do not practice their religion.
Muslims agree that Allah is One, Muhammad is His last Prophet,
the Quran is His last Book for mankind, and that one day Allah
will resurrect all human beings, and they will be questioned
about their beliefs and actions. Nearly one quarter of the world
population are Muslim.
Muslims are mainly broken down into two sects: Shia and Sunni.
The great majority of Muslims are Sunnis, estimated to be about
85% to 90%. Both Sunni and Shia Muslims share the most
fundamental Islamic beliefs and articles of faith. The
differences between these two main sub-groups within Islam
initially stemmed from political differences. Throughout
history, Shia Muslims have not recognized the authority of
elected Muslim leaders, choosing instead to follow a line of
Imams which they believe have been appointed by the Prophet
Muhammad or Allah (God) Himself.
Islam is the act of submitting to the will of God. Muslim is
person who participates in the act of submission.
All Sunni are Muslims, but not all Muslims are Sunni, just as
all Catholics are Christian, but not all Christians are
Islamists do not represent religious Islam. They believe Islamic
law should be implemented as a political system or theocracy.
Islamism is an extremist, and at times violent ideology that
seeks to ground its legitimacy in Islam and focuses its
recruitment efforts almost entirely on Muslims. Islamism wants
to create a new world order, grounded in the imagined past of
7th century deserts.
Current manifestations of Islamism include a variety of Islamist
movements, such as the (mostly) non-violent Muslim Brotherhood,
violent Boko Haram, and the violent Islamic State of Iraq and
the Levant (ISIL). Although these groups employ different
tactics, at their core they share a common political ideology.
Although ISIS/ began as part of Al-Qaeda. It has since broken
relations and Al -Qaeda has not pledged allegiance to ISIL.
Not all Muslims are Islamist, but virtually all Islamists are
Islam good - Radical Islamist bad!
The Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS) or simply Islamic
State - On 8 April 2013 changed its name from ISIS to ISIL
(although most journalists ignore this).
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), also known as
the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
Levant is a geographic term including Cyprus, Israel,
Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and more.
Da'ish (Daesh) is another name used by others for ISIL and is
considered derogatory to it.
A caliphate is an Islamic government operating under Sharia law.
It is led by a caliph (currently Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi), who is a
political and religious leader and successor (caliph) to the
Islamic prophet Muhammad. His power and authority is absolute.
In June, 2014, ISIL announced it has established an Islamic
caliphate across Syria and Iraq. It currently claims to control
10 million people.
On 14 May 2014, the United States Department of State announced
its decision to use Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)
as the group's primary name. However, in late 2014, top US
officials shifted toward using Daesh (da eesh or Dash), because
this is the name a growing number of countries and Arab allies
prefer to use. US officials still variously refer to all
Incidently, 90% of Syrians, 97% of Iraqis, 98% Turks, 99% of
Iranis, 99.8% Afghanistanis, 96% Pakistanis, 94% Egyptians,
and 88% Indonesians are Muslim.
Many US football and basketball players are Muslim. American
Muslims include: Dave Chappele, Casey Kasem, Doctor Oz, Mike
Tyson, Muhammad Ali, Fareed Zakaria (TV), Busta Rhymes, Ice
Cube, Huma Abedin, Jermaine Jackson, and Snoop Dogg, among
Hope this makes it a bit less confusing.