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Top 10 worst terrorist group names

Terrorism is no laughing matter, but sometimes it helps to make fun of those who are seeking to sow death and destruction.

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In the Harry Potter series author J. K. Rowling introduced us to the ‘boggart‘, a shape-shifting ‘non-being’ that takes on the form of its observer’s worst fear. Because of its shape-shifting ability, no one knows what a Boggart looks as it changes instantly upon encountering someone.

One of the ways to defeat a boggart is to laugh at it and use the ‘Boggart-banishing spell’ Riddikulus. If the caster is able to laugh aloud at the Boggart, it will disappear at once. The intention is to force the Boggart to assume a less-threatening and hopefully comical form.

I submit to you that a similar strategy can be used when talking, writing and thinking about terrorism. No, I am not at all dismissing the seriousness of terrorism or the pain and suffering they cause but sometimes laughter (and satire) are indeed the ‘best medicine’.

See also: Top 10 Worst Right-Wing Extremist Group Names

With that in mind, I’d like to present my Top Ten Worst Terrorist Group names. I came up with the list by thinking of all the groups I have come across over the years as well as by looking at ‘listed terrorist entities’ concocted by various governments (finally! An actual use for such tools!). Some of the names are, well, how to put this, ‘riddikulus’! Have a look for yourself.

NB this Perspective is accompanied by a Borealis Quick Hits podcast. Have a listen!


Top 10 Worst Terrorist Group Names:

#10 – Vigorous Burmese Student Warriors (Myanmar/Burma)

Led by a guy called, wait for it, ‘Johnny’. Sounds more like a high school basketball team to me!

Vigorous Burmese Student Warriors - Wikipedia
Is that a peacock??? Not very terrorist-appearing, is it? (Photo: Facebook)

#9 – Army of the Men of the Naqshbandi Order (Iraq)

Do these guys have a bit role in Game of Thrones? Or the Masons? Ironic, isn’t it, that a group which wants to re-establish the Ba’athist regime of dead President Saddam Hussein is trying to sow ‘disorder’, not order.

Way too much script guys! No one under the age of 60 reads anymore! (Photo: Wikipedia)

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#8 – Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA – Kenya, Uganda)

Not too sure who they are resisting – the Lord himself? – but they relied on a spirit medium named Alice who heard voices and anointed its ‘soldiers’ with oil that apparently repelled bullets. I wonder how that worked out in a firefight?

Lord's Resistance Army - Wikipedia
Boring!! (Photo: Wikipedia)

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#7 – Palestine Liberation Front (PLF)

Not to be confused with the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) or the People’s Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). Is it just me or does everyone immediately think of Monty Python’s Life of Brian when they hear this group’s name?

Brian: Excuse me. Are you the Judean People’s Front?
Reg: Fuck off! ‘Judean People’s Front’. We’re the People’s Front of Judea! ‘Judean People’s Front’.
Francis: Wankers.

Wait! Why is that gun bigger than Israel? (Photo: Wikipedia)

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#6 – Conspiracy of Fire Nuclei (Greece – anarchist)

Are these guys the QAnons of Greece with their conspiracy theories? Is the conspiracy around the mastery of fire? Did Prometheus NOT discover it? And what’s the link to nuclei?? I didn’t know fire had them!

Where are all the arrows pointing? Looks like to nothing: even the star wants out!! (Photo: Wikipedia)

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#5 – Knights of the Ku Klux Klan (KKKK – US)

Way too many ‘ks’ and any group led by a Grand Wizard dressed in a dunce cap is begging for satire!

Straight to the corner of the classroom for you moron! (Photo: BBC)

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#4 – Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF – Philippines)

BIFF? Have you ever known someone named ‘Biff’? What was your impression? Also, according to the Urban Dictionary a ‘biff’ is someone who does a job requiring little intelligence. Enough said.

Do I look like a ‘biff’ to you? Yep! (Photo: AsiaNews / Agencies)

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#3 – Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA)

Someone should have used Grammarly to avoid the repetition! Or was this to differentiate them from the ‘Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Aruba’??

Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia - Wikipedia
Too much text – again!! This time trilingual even! (Photo: Wikipedia)

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#2 – Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)

This nasty bunch goes by the Arabic name Daesh (or الدولة الإسلامية في العراق والشام‎) which ISIS REALLY hates as it is slang for ‘bigot’.

You know you have an unfortunate name for a terrorist group when you reportedly threaten to cut out the tongues of anyone it hears using the term! Back to the drawing board guys!

These wankers cannot even get their flag right (hint: it is upside down)! (Photo: STRINGER/IRAQ/REUTERS)

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#1 – MILF??

The single worst name for a terrorist group belongs to the Philippines Moro Islamic Liberation Front or MILF. If you don’t know what a MILF is, Google it. Go ahead. Look at the top ten results. This group was not thinking of its SEO when it chose that name let me assure you!

Do I look like a MILF to you? (Photo: Wikimedia)
Do we look like terrorists to you? (Photo: Billboard)

So there you have it. Borealis’ Top Ten worst terrorist group names. Do you have any you want to add? Drop me a line! Note that there is a podcast that accompanies this text – have a listen!

By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. and Director of the National Security programme at the University of Ottawa’s Professional Development Institute (PDI). Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

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