On November 11th, 2015, CCN reported that the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria or ISIS was preparing to launch its currency. Latest reports indicate that ISIS have gone ahead with those plans to launch their own currency. ISIS is a Sunni, unrecognized state and self-declared caliphate based in Iraq and Syria, or what is also known as the Levant. That explains why it is also known as ISIL. The word caliphate comes from the Arabic khilafa, which means succession, and its leader the Caliph would, therefore, be viewed by its followers as a successor to Muhammad. Conceptually, a caliphate represents a sovereign state of all Muslims, or what is called the Ummah.
Organizations and governments around the world have declared ISIS as a terrorist organization. The United Nations did so in 2004, followed by the European Union in the same year. Governments that have declared ISIS to be a terrorist organization include the UK, US, Australia, Canada, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and Israel.
ISIS’s New Currency
ISIS has announced plans to mint its currency in gold, silver and copper. In a statement the group said that it wanted to stay away from the “tyrant’s financial system” and issue a currency that would be “dedicated to God” and get Muslims out of the “global economic system that is based on satanic usury.”
The currency has seven different coins all valued in dinars. The reverse side of the coin features a map that reveals ISIS’s plan of world domination. It is worth five dinars. The other denomination of the gold coin has a symbol of seven wheat stalks and is worth one dinar. The silver coin comes in three different denominations. One denomination features a spear and shield; another shows a white minaret of Damascus and yet another shows the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem. They are worth one, five and ten dinar respectively.
The copper coins come in two denominations. One features a crescent and is worth ten dinars, whereas another more valuable copper coin features palm trees and is valued at 20 dinars. The obverse side of all the coins has the monetary value of the coin in Arabic.
As explained in an earlier article on this website, the group would be attempting to reintroduce the gold dinar. The gold dinar is an early Islamic coin that corresponds to and is derived from the denarius auri of the Byzantine era. The gold dinar was in use during a caliphate that was known as the Umayyad. The Umayyad caliphate lasted close to a century. The coin was minted to a carefully controlled standard of 4.25 grams.
ISIS’s Hurdles in Minting Currency
It is unclear at present how or where the group is going to mint the currency. Experts point out that getting access to the huge quantities of gold needed to keep the mint going would be next to impossible. In addition, trading with the coins would suffer from a lack of recognition. No country or financial institution would want to trade with the currency for fear of being branded as a sponsor of terrorism. Being branded a sponsor of terrorism would attract multiple indictments on various charges including the obvious one of money laundering.
ISIS may however have the muscle to pull off the currency issue. Speaking to CNN, former US Treasury Undersecretary Jimmy Gurule said that the ISIS is the wealthiest terrorist organization that the world had ever seen. ISIS is estimated to be earning about US$ 1 million each day. It is said to earn most of its money from the sale of oil in the black market. In addition, ISIS also gets several million dollars a day from donors, ransom payments, extortion rings and other illegal activities.
What do you think? Would the ISIS’s currency work?
Images: Mashable.com; other images from Shutterstock.