ISIS to Mint New Coins to Fight West's 'Tyrannical Monetary System'

Islamist group announces plans to create its own currency, in what one researcher describes as a pitch to achieve statehood.

The Islamic State group says its leader has ordered that the organization start minting gold, silver and copper coins for its own currency — the Islamic dinar.

A website affiliated with the militant group said late on Thursday that its leader, Abu Bakr Baghdadi, has instructed his followers to start minting the coins to "change the tyrannical monetary system" modelled on Western economies that "enslaved Muslims."

The posting says the order was approved by the group's Shura Council, an advisory board.

After seizing large swaths of Iraqi and Syrian territory earlier this year, the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS or ISIL, proclaimed a caliphate, or Islamic empire, on lands under its control.

The group has also sought to implement its harsh interpretation of Islamic law, or Sharia, and Baghdadi has proclaimed himself the caliph.

According to The Telegraph, the group's currency is fashioned on the original dinar coins used during the Caliphate of Uthman in 634 CE.

"While the highest value gold coin will be worth about $694, its lowest-denomination copper coin will be just seven cents," The Telegraph said.

Sketches of the coins appear in the statement released by Islamic State's Beit al Mal, or treasury, that was posted on websites used by jihadist movements. Depicted on the coins are symbols of Islam. On one of the silver coins is a picture of the Al-Aqsa mosque, which is situated on Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif in Jerusalem.

Issuing the coins is part of Islamic State's efforts to achieve statehood, Mohsin Khan, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East, told Bloomberg. “One of the attributes of a state is that it issues its own currency,” he reportedly said by phone from Washington. “That defines you as a state at least in the eyes of your own people and perhaps in the eyes of others.”

“The important thing is: where are they going to get the gold and copper [used to produce the coins]?" Steven H. Hanke, professor of applied economics at Johns Hopkins University, told the Financial Times. "ISIS will have to confiscate more property through theft and the spoils of war."