The Islamic State Announces its Own Currency

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The Islamic State (IS) "Treasury Department," in its first statement, announced that it would be minting its own currency in a message distributed on Twitter on November 13, 2014.

According to the department, the minting of the IS currency was ordered by the group's leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The statement explains of the announced currency:

...it is far removed from the tyrannical monetary system that was imposed on the Muslims and was a reason for their enslavement and impoverishment, and the wasting the fortunes of the Ummah [nation], making it easy prey in the hands of the Jews and Crusaders, the Treasury Department studied the matter and presented a comprehensive project, by the grace of Allah, to mint a currency based on the inherent value of the metals gold and silver.

The statement also contained pictures of coin designs, reading "The Islamic State" at the top, their respective values in the middle, and "Caliphate on Method of the Prophethood" on the bottom.

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IS's declaration of this currency—along with a statement by what claims to be a Treasury Department—marks another gesture by the group that it intends to establish a legitimate, functioning state. The third issue of "Dabiq," IS's English language magazine, echoed similar ambitions this past September:

This Khilafah is more in need than ever before for experts, professionals, and specialists, who can help contribute in strengthening its structure and tending to the needs of their Muslim brothers.

According to SITE Director Rita Katz, the announced currency also contains a deeper layer of appeal for jihadists. "The use of gold, silver, and copper shows an attempt to resemble life under the old Islamic Caliphate," she says. "This resemblance further separates IS's desired economy from that of the 'tyrannical' economies of the West."

Based off of reactions by the jihadist community online, it appears that the announced currency has indeed sparked excitement among IS fighters and supporters. One user on Twitter, under the name "Ahaamaj Aladnana," stated, "Coin currency specific to the Islamic State. The most powerful weapon for the collapse of the global economy."

Another user, under the name "Ahaamaj Aladnana," also celebrated the announcement:

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"Though we have yet to see any physical coins or bills produced, they wouldn't have announced this currency if they weren't serious about making it," says Katz. "It wouldn't be surprising to see some surface in Iraq or Syria in the near future."

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