ISIS Announces Plans to Introduce New Gold-Backed Currency

Hopes Reintroduction of 'Islamic Currency' Will Bolster Caliphate

In a move that appears to be aimed at bolstering its claim to be the legitimate revitalization of the Islamic Caliphate, ISIS has announced plans to introduce a new, or rather very old, currency to its territory.

Details are still scant, but imams in Iraq’s Nineveh Province, an ISIS stronghold, say the plan is to introduce new gold and silver coins based on the specifications of those used during the original caliphate.

Under early Islamic law, a dinar was approximately 4.5 grams of gold, and a dirham was just over 3 grams of silver. Those specifications have been used for centuries as a basis for currencies across the Islamic world, but have fallen into disuse in the modern era.

The ISIS move is not entirely unprecedented, however, as Malaysian states have minted dirhams and dinars for almost a decade, which was proposed as a medium of exchange between Muslim nations hoping to eschew the US dollar.

ISIS has already been using gold and silver measurements as the basis for its taxation in some territory, particularly as pertains to collecting the Jizya tax from non-Muslim residents of ISIS territory. Though ISIS has a large amount of cash from the looting of the Mosul Bank, it is unclear exactly how much gold and silver they have to support serious mintage of a new currency.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.