Supporters of the world’s wealthiest terrorist group, the Islamic State (ISIS), have begun circulating images on social media, confirmed by anti-ISIS activists, of gold coins minted within ISIS strongholds, allegedly a “currency” that will be put to use in the near future.
— Zaid Benjamin (@zaidbenjamin) June 23, 2015
The Jerusalem Post, citing a report in the Daily Mirror, notes that the images have been confirmed by some anti-ISIS activists who have received them from those living under Islamic State rule in Syria. The coins in the initially released photographs are golden. Two designs have appeared online: one with a map of the world engraved, and another with sheaths of wheat, a Koranic reference. The coins read, in Arabic, “The Islamic State” and “A caliphate based on the doctrine of the prophet.”
The Daily Mail notes that supporters of the Islamic State have expressed hope online that the coins would begin circulating by Eid, the holiday marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan, currently underway.
The Post notes that the design is similar to that of the coins of the Caliphate of Uthman printed around 650 AD. The Islamic State will use the medieval currency dinar.
The dinar, Al Arabiya reports, was widely used in early Islamic empires, and thus expected to be the “currency” of the terrorist group, which insists it is a functioning state. In November, ISIS announced plans for a new currency, arguing that the new Islamic State dinar would liberate the Muslim world from the “satanic global economic system.” According to a statement on a jihadi website from ISIS’s “treasury department,” the Diwan al-Mal, the coins represent “a comprehensive project, by the grace of Allah, to mint a currency based on the inherent value of the metals gold and silver.” Such a project would protect Muslims from becoming “easy prey in the hands of the Jews and Crusaders,” it concluded.
Laith Alkhouri, director of MENA Research and Analysis at Flashpoint Global Partners, told Mashable in November that she believed establishing such a currency would be impossible, as no other country would establish an exchange rate with it. She explained:
No country will ever recognize it as legitimate, and undoubtedly trading with these coins in any way — at least for the grand majority of countries around the world — will constitute material support for terrorism and will likely generate multiple indictments including money laundering.
The coins, nonetheless, reinforce the claim by the terrorist group that they are establishing an empire, not merely conquering land to plunder for their use. Beginning last year, the Islamic State strengthened its propaganda efforts towards individuals not seeking to be mujahideen for the terror group, but doctors, engineers, and–most importantly–wives. ISIS Twitter accounts began promoting entire families who brought their children to Raqqa, the Islamic State “capital,” to live among the terrorist group.
While ISIS released a video more akin to its typical propaganda fare Tuesday, depicting the brutal murder of dozens of alleged “spies” and “infidels,” as recently as last May, the Islamic State’s English-language propaganda outfit, Al Hayat Media, was releasing videos claiming to offer jihadists high-end medical care and technological advancement. Starring widely derided “sleazeball”-turned-ISIS-pitchman Tareq Kamleh of Australia, one Islamic State video proclaimed itself to provide the most up-to-date medical care for children possible. “I was very happy that I made the decision, and I was a little bit saddened at how long I’d delayed it. I wish I had come a lot sooner,” Kamleh says in the video, turning to hold a baby.