ISIS Begins Minting Its Own Currency

The militant group Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) said on Thursday, November 13th, that it plans to introduce its own currency in the areas under its control. The militant group said it wishes to, “…emancipate itself from the satanic global economic system.”

ISIS plans to mint in the form of seven coins: two gold, three silver, and two copper as part of a new currency they’re calling the Dinar.

Editor’s note: Dinars are actually a common currency in predominately Islamic countries – Algeria, Iraq, Jordan and Kuwait are among nine countries that use currencies called the dinar.

Designs for the new Isis currency (Image courtesy of The Guardian)

Designs and values for the new Isis currency (Image courtesy of The Guardian)

According to a report from the AP in Cairo…

“One of the gold coins carries the symbol of seven stalks of wheat, mentioned in the Quran, while another has the map of the world, a reference to Islam someday ruling the entire world.

One of the silver coins shows a sword and a shield in a reference to holy war, or jihad while another has a minaret symbolizing Damascus mentioned in one of the Prophet Muhammad’s sayings.

“Another coin carries the symbol of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, where the Prophet prayed. It’s revered as Islam’s third-holiest place, complete with the site’s iconic gold-topped Dome of the Rock, which enshrines the rock from which Muslims believe the Prophet ascended to heaven.

The copper coins carry the symbol of the crescent moon and three palm trees, also significant in Islam.”

The coins will be made out of pure gold, silver and copper, and their value will reflect the value of the precious metal they’re made of (this is why the gold coins are worth so much more than he silver or copper ones).

Most countries (including the U.S.) use fiat currencies, which get their value from government regulation or law, rather than from the inherent value of the currency itself.

A website affiliated with the group posted online that IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi instructed his followers to mint the coins to, “change the tyrannical monetary system” modelled on Western economies that “enslaved Muslims.”

Detailed rendering of the 1 dina coin (Image: Militant Website/AP)

Detailed rendering of the 1 dina coin (Image: Militant Website/AP)

After seizing large portions of Iraq and Syria earlier this year, the Islamic State proclaimed a “caliphate” on all the lands under its control. A caliphate is an Islamic state led by a supreme religious and political leader known as a caliph (i.e. “successor”) to Muhammad. The succession of Muslim empires that have existed in the Muslim world are usually described as “caliphates”.

ISIS has sought to implement its harsh interpretation of Islamic law, or Sharia, and al-Baghdadi has proclaimed himself the caliph of the so-called Islamic State.

Jimmy Gurule, a former U.S. Treasury undersecretary, tells us that…

“Unlike its predecessor al Qaeda, which raised money principally from external sources…ISIS is principally, primarily self-funded.”

He said its funding comes from oil, ransom payments, taxes and the sale of stolen artifacts. He goes on to say…

“This is the wealthiest terrorist organization that the world has ever known, and so with that kind of money it’s hard to understand — what’s the potential? What could they do with that?”

ISIS has not said when the currency would be launched or specify in which areas it would begin circulating the currency, but the Islamic State’s treasury department assures that instructions will be forthcoming, explaining to the people how to use the currency.

Read more from The Guardian and Huffington Post. Check out renderings of all of the ISIS coins courtesy of The Boston Globe.

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