Activist: Islamic State currency a ‘media stunt’

Amman: The Islamic State never produced its much-publicized precious-metal currency, intended to replace US dollars and Syrian pounds, and has in fact only produced a few "souvenir coins," activists in Raqqa told Syria Direct on Thursday.

In a video released by the Islamic State in October 2015, the group railed against the “corrupt” global economy, calling on its followers to give up their “satanic banknotes” in exchange for gold and silver coins, “the ultimate measure of goods and services.”

“With Allah’s permission, the oil of the Muslims will soon only be sold for gold,” said the speaker in the video.

In recent months IS announced that it would pay teachers in areas under its control in “silver dinars” and claimed to be collecting and burning US currency.

Nevertheless, anti-IS activist Hani a-Rawi, a member of the Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently media campaign, told Syria Direct that IS “never banned the circulation of dollars.”

“IS even pays its fighters in dollars and prefers that taxes be paid in dollars as well,” said a-Rawi.

Journalists from inside Raqqa province confirm that, despite IS’s statements, the principle currency used in the area is the Syrian pound, with those close to IS preferring to operate their private businesses in dollars.

“No one has even seen the IS currency,” said Furat al-Wafaa, an independent journalist in Raqqa countryside.

The US-led coalition against IS has released videos of coalition planes bombing cash storehouses in Mosul and other areas under IS control, indicating an awareness of how dependent the organization is on foreign currency reserves.

As far as a-Rawi is concerned, the invention of a precious-metal currency based on the practices of the early Islamic caliphates was primarily directed towards the media.

“All of the talk about IS’s currency was just a media stunt.”

Nisreen A-Nasser

Nisreen was born in Homs and received her diploma in electronics. She is passionate about photography, photoshop and has worked in the field of media to improve her skills. She moved to Jordan after the Syrian revolution began. Nisreen is interested in journalism because she wants to shine a light on forgotten stories from within her country.

Mohammed Mofeed

Mohammed Mofeed is from Aleppo province. He moved to Jordan to finish his college degree in telecommunication engineering in 2013. Prior to joining Syria Direct, he worked in marketing and became interested in journalism after reading many politicized articles on the Syrian uprising.

Ammar Hamou

Ammar Hammou is from Douma city in outer Damascus. He studied journalism at Damascus University and left Syria in 2011.

Orion Wilcox

Orion Wilcox was a 2014-2015 CASA fellow in Amman, Jordan where he interned with the UNRWA Jordan Field Office. He received his BA in Economics and Arabic language from the University of Mississippi. Following the CASA program, Orion worked as a freelance translator and interpreter in Amman.