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Leading Muslims call to stop referring to extremists as IS

Politicians and the media should stop referring to the extremist group controlling parts of Syria and Iraq as "Islamic State" in a bid to discourage Britons from joining them, leading Muslims have warned.

A group of prominent civic and religious figures have written to Prime Minister David Cameron urging him to "refuse to legitimise" the terror group by switching to an alternative such as "Un-Islamic State". Signatories including Mohammed Abbasi, from the Association of British Muslims, write:

We do not believe the terror group responsible should be given the credence and standing they seek by styling themselves 'Islamic State'.

It is neither Islamic, nor is it a State. The group has no standing with faithful Muslims, nor among the international community of nations ... So we believe the media, civic society and governments should refuse to legitimise these ludicrous Caliphate fantasies by accepting or propagating this name.

– Open letter

Egypt tells Kerry 'not to focus only on IS militants'

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi told visiting US Secretary of State John Kerry that any international coalition against terrorism should not just focus on Islamic State militants, the presidency said in a statement.

Sisi also expressed concerns in talks about foreign fighters in Islamic State and the danger they posed to their home countries.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L) listens while Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi talks before a meeting Credit: Reuters

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Egypt backs US call for action against Islamic State

Egypt's foreign minister said today that ties existed between Islamic State, the militant group holding large parts of Iraq and Syria, and other jihadist organisations in the region.

Sameh Shukri said that global action was needed to counter the threat.

Speaking at a news conference in Cairo with US Secretary of State John Kerry, the minister said that regional militant groups shared the same ideology and must be dealt with.

Kerry seeks support for Islamic State fight

John Kerry is holding talks in Cairo today on the latest leg of a regional tour to forge a coalition against Islamic State jihadists in Iraq and Syria.

US Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi at the presidential palace in Cairo. Credit: Brendan Smialowski/Reuters

The US Secretary of State is meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi. Washington is seeking approval for its campaign from Egypt's religious institutions.

"One of the issues is to have their religious institutions to speak out against ISIL, to talk about it in Fridays sermons," a US official travelling with Kerry said. "[The Egyptians] are concerned about foreign fighters - an issue that has aggravated their domestic terrorism," he added.

Relations between Washington and Cairo have been strained since the military's overthrow of elected Islamist president Mohamed Morsi last year, but the Egyptian government sees the fight against IS as its cause as well.

However, it appears unlikely that Egypt's sizeable army will make a significant military contribution to the fight in Iraq and Syria.

Obama: Islamic State needs to be 'snuffed out'

The Islamic State's brand of extremism needs to be snuffed out, according to US President Barack Obama.

President Obama said IS militants need to be 'snuffed out.' Credit: Reuters

Speaking at a fundraising event in Baltimore he said it was a "sobering time" but the threat from Islamic State has focused the world's attention on the need to "ultimately snuff out this particular brand of Islamic extremism that really has no place in the 21st century."

He added that he is leading an effort to form a coalition of Western allies and Gulf Arab states to take on the extremist group.

US official 'threatened Foley family over ransom'

The mother of murdered journalist James Foley says the US government repeatedly threatened her family with criminal charges if they paid a ransom to Islamic State terrorists holding him captive.

"We were told that several times and we took it as a threat and it was appalling," Diane Foley told American channel ABC News

James Foley was murdered by Islamic State terrorists. Credit: Nicole Tung

Mrs Foley said the warnings came mainly from a senior military official serving on the White House's National Security Council (NSC) staff.

"Three times he intimidated us with that message. We were horrified he would say that. He just told us we would be prosecuted. We knew we had to save our son, we had to try," she said.

An NSC spokeswoman said it was "longstanding policy" not to grant concessions to hostage-takers.

"Doing so would only put more Americans at risk of being taken captive - that is what we convey publicly and what we convey privately," Caitlin Hayden said in a statement on Thursday.

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Australian PM raises terrorist threat to high

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott Credit: CHRIS CRERAR/AAP/Press Association Images

The Australian government elevated it terrorism threat level to the second-highest warning in response to the domestic threat posed by Islamic State movement supporters.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott told a press conference: “Nothing that I have said today ... has anything to with religion. This is about crime, potential crime and combating crime.”

"I want to stress that this does not mean that a terror attack is imminent," Abbott told reporters. "We have no specific intelligence of particular plots."

Republican doubts over Obama's Islamic State plan

US House Speaker John Boehner said Republican lawmakers have doubts about whether President Barack Obama's plan can accomplish the mission of destroying Islamic State.

Boehner said no decision has been made on a legislative vehicle to authorise of Obama's request to arm moderate Syrian rebels and said discussions would continue over weekend.

US House Speaker John Boehner with President Obama. Credit: Reuters

"I am not sure we are doing all that we can to defeat this terrorist threat," he said.

The White House said it would like Congress to include an authorization for arming and training the moderate Syrian opposition in a resolution bill that is expected to pass next week.

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