The New York Times reports: They have paraded their own flag, formed courts and ministries, issued passports and even license plates. Now, the leaders of the Islamic State, the violent jihadist group that has seized parts of Syria and Iraq, have created their own currency, part of a grandiose plan to restore the caliphate era that dominated the Middle East more than 1,300 years ago.
In an announcement on Thursday heralding a liberation from the “satanic usury-based global economic system,” the Islamic State said it would begin minting gold, silver and copper coins, in likenesses similar to the days of the seventh-century caliphs.
The coins will have standardized weights and values, the announcement said, and they will be the legal tender of the lands controlled by the group, also known as ISIS or ISIL.
Important details such as the exact timing of when the coins would begin to circulate, and how they would be minted, were not disclosed, and a question remained: Can the group really create a viable currency?
Many money historians and other experts said no, describing the announcement as a propaganda exercise, meant largely to reinforce the Islamic State’s self-anointed legitimacy. [Continue reading…]