news Thursday, January 29, 2015 - 05:30

IANS | The News Minute | November 11, 2014 | 03.16 pm IST

The Islamic State (IS) terrorist organisation plans to introduce its own currency and bring back solid gold and silver coins, according to media reports.

This is believed to be part of the IS's efforts to gain legitimacy and solidify its dominance.

The militants want to bring back the original dinar, which is a currency from the ancient Islamic era, and religious authorities in Iraq have apparently announced the currency's return in mosques, the Daily Mail reported Monday.

The original dinar was a gold coin, equal in weight to 4.3 gm of gold. Its silver counterpart, known as the dirham, was a silver coin whose weight was equivalent to 3 gm of silver.

Both were round in shape and one side of the coin was typically stamped with an Islamic message, while the other side featured the date of minting and the country's ruler.

The original gold and silver coins were first introduced during the Caliphate of Uthman in 634 CE.

The dinar is today used by a number of countries, but the coins are created from materials different from the originals.

It is believed that the IS wants to use the independent currency in areas it controls as part of its war on the West, though the terror outfit has yet to confirm this.

Last month, it emerged that IS was raking in money at a remarkable rate, earning about $1 million a day from black market oil sales alone.

The group extracts oil from territory captured across Syria and Iraq, and sells it to smugglers.

David Cohen, who leads the US Treasury Department's efforts to undermine the IS's finances, said the extremists also get several million dollars a month from wealthy donors, extortion rackets and other criminal activities, such as robbing banks.

In addition, he said the group has taken in at least $20 million in ransom payments this year from kidnappings.

The IS is a Sunni jihadi organisation and last June self-proclaimed a "caliphate" in areas it controls in Iraq and Syria. The group has been named a terrorist organisation by the UN and European Union (EU).

Formerly called the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), its original aim was to establish an Islamic state in Sunni-majority regions of Iraq. The group subsequently expanded its aim to include the Sunni-majority areas of Syria as well, that it seeks to control.

On June 29, it proclaimed the "caliphate" under its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and the group was renamed the Islamic State.

Four days ago, reports said that al-Baghdadi was injured in an airstrike by US-led coalition forces, but there has been no confirmation since then.


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