And speaking of alternatives to popular currencies, Loren Gatch forwarded this Wall Street Journal article on new Malaysian silver and gold coins. He writes: "Practically, they are not much more than bullion pieces, but the personalities involved are interesting--in particular Ian Dallas, aka Abdalqadir al-Sufi."
Umar Vadillo bounds into a hotel room here in northern Malaysia with several stacks of gold and silver coins in his hands and slaps them down on a coffee table. "This," Mr. Vadillo says, "is what it means to be free."
A quarter century ago, this Spanish-born Muslim convert set to work with other European Muslims to find a substitute for the U.S. dollar and other paper currencies.
Pricing goods in greenbacks, they argued, was unfair. Many countries earn their income from finite resources like oil and other minerals, they said, while the U.S. and other countries can crank up their printing presses to pay for them—especially after Richard Nixon helped break the Western world's historical dependence on gold as a measure of value by taking America off the gold standard in 1971.
Last month, Mr. Vadillo's solution took shape when the local Muslim-led government in Malaysia's Kelantan state joined forces with Mr. Vadillo to introduce Islamic-style gold dinar coins as alternative currency.
Mr. Vadillo and the Kelantan government have persuaded more than a thousand businesses here in the state capital, Kota Bharu, to paste stickers in store windows saying they accept the coins.
Ordinary people can also pay taxes and water bills in gold and silver instead of paper money.
"Our lands are being subjugated," says Mr. Vadillo, a powerfully built 46-year-old with a shiny suit, swept-back hair and a tidy goatee. "Today, in Kelantan, we're fighting back."
Plenty of people have their doubts about the dollar, as well as other currencies that aren't backed by gold or silver.
American libertarians such as Ron Paul frequently call for the reintroduction of a gold-backed currency, arguing that the Federal Reserve's ability to print money causes inflation and destroys savings.
Gold bulls have developed a cult following among investors who worry that precious metals are the only reliable store of value during rocky economic times.
An initial run of coins worth about $640,000 and ranging from one dirham—containing about $4 worth of silver at current prices—and one dinar—worth $189—to an eight-dinar coin worth $1,518 sold out quickly, prompting Malaysia's political leaders to say the paper-based ringgit, worth around 32 U.S. cents, is still the country's legal currency.
To read the complete article, see:
Malaysian Muslims Go for Gold, But It's Hard to Make Change
Wayne Homren, Editor
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