David T. Alexander submitted these thoughts on the proposed "Islamic State" coins discussed in previous issues. Thanks.
The announcement of a whole set of coins attributed to the terrorist organization known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, ISIS (or Islamic
State in Iraq and the Levant, ISIL) confused many readers. Examination of the artwork reveals several clues to the pretensions and intent of these
items. Reverses identify the issuer by the Arabic inscription Islamic State and Caliphate of Levant and Syria.
After the death of the Prophet Muhammad, the Sunni Islamic world was governed for centuries by a Caliph or Commander of the Faithful, initially by
dynasties such as the Abbasid and Umayyad. The caliphate ultimately devolved on the Ottoman Sultans. The last Caliph was Sultan Mehmed VI who was
dethroned and driven into exile by Turkish revolutionary reformer Kemal Atatürk in 1922.
The recreation of a Caliphate to govern a great “Islamic Mother State or Umma” has been an announced goal of several Islamist organizations
from Al-Qaeda to ISIS. The calligraphy and designs that have been published show remarkable quality, though the images are artists’ renderings rather
than pictures of struck coins.
Bronze 20 and 10 fils bear three date palms (suggesting Saddam Hussein's Iraqi coinage) and a crescent respectively. The silver 10 dirham
depicts the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, now under Israeli control, an inflammatory image. The five dirham appears to depict the Great Mosque in
the Holy City of Mecca, part of Sa’udi Arabia; the one dirham presents a warrior’s round shield and spear.
The gold one dinar coin depicts a simple stand of wheat. The gold five gold dinar presets a truly pregnant image that proclaims the ultimate goal
of ISIS: a map of the entire world from the Americas to Australia, shorthand for global domination. Whether these coins will actually be struck, and
by whom remains a mystery though private Mints are found throughout the world.
As pretenders and governments in exile have long known, coinage is an attribute of sovereignty and even coins without territory in which to
circulate are a powerful assertion by the issuer.
To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:
ISIS TO ISSUE ITS OWN COINAGE? (www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v17n47a25.html)
COIN WORLD: ISIS COINAGE IMPROBABLE (www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v17n48a22.html)
Wayne Homren, Editor
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