The U.K. government has condemned the BBC for comments that it does not wish to give "the impression of support" for opponents of the Islamic State.

The head of the BBC, Lord Hall, made the comments in response to a petition from 120 members of Parliament that requested the media agency refer instead to the militant group instead as "Daesh," an Arabic pejorative term for them. Use of the term Daesh "would not preserve the BBC's impartiality," Hall replied in a letter that has sparked an uproar.

"The word Daesh is not an acronym...but is instead a pejorative name coined in Arabic by its enemies," wrote Hall, adding that the BBC takes their lead on how to identify groups based on how they refer to themselves.

His comments have sparked an intense backlash and earned the condemnation of the U.K. government in the wake of the Tunisian attacks. The Islamic State took credit for the attacks which killed 30 Britons.

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