The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), the al Qaeda offshoot that now controls parts of Iraq and Syria, says in its latest video they are introducing a new currency that will bring about the end of the American “petro-dollar system” and “cleanse the entire earth of corruption.”
The militant group, which is also known as ISIS or Islamic State, has long argued Muslims need to return to what they call “the prophetic methodology” that led to the rise of the Islamic empire that lasted for close to 800 years. They say that for a long time the western “kufars” (unbelievers) have corrupted this system and their aim is restore it through a violent jihad.
But the other part of the strategy involves an attempt to establish a new financial system. The re-introducing of a coin currency system is part of this strategy of ridding of Muslim lands of a corrupt, interest-driven financial system, they argue.
Last year, the group announced plans for the new coin currency which they want to replace the “fraudulent” US dollar. At the time, their statement said the currency will be made up of gold dinars, silver dirhams and the copper fulus.
The choice of coins as a currency of choice is typical of ISIL’s theology which is defined by a desire to return to what they see as the golden age of the Islamic empire. As we’ve reported at Quartz before, the idea of a gold dinar allows ISIL to connect itself to the history of Islamic coinage that goes as far back as 696 A.D., “when the Arab world was at peak imperial strength.”
The video released on Monday (August 31st)—called “The Rise of the Khilafah and the Return of the Gold Dinar”— is almost an hour long and acts as a justifying thesis for the necessity of the new currency. It has the look and feel of a documentary, using charts and soundbites from “experts”, that includes the likes of former congressman and Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul, to bolster its case against the “satanic system” of the unbelievers.
In the design of the content, ISIL reveals its ideology of re-establishing a global caliphate. The five dinar coin has a map of the globe denoting what they say is the territory the “Ummah” would reach, including Constantinople (Istanbul), Rome and America. The one dirham silver coin has a spear and a shield symbolizing jihad, which they say was the source of provision for the prophet.
The video does not explain when, exactly, the currency will become operational. At the moment, ISIL is running its own highly lucrative “petro-dollar” economy which, according to reports, is generating $1 million of revenue a day from the sale of crude oil.