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Stephen Mihm

Islamic State's Currency Is So 7th Century

Breaking out of the “satanic usury-based global economic system” is easier said than done.
Minting coins for the end of the world.

Minting coins for the end of the world.

Photographer: Ercin Top/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Islamic State announced last week that it planned to start minting its own coin, including a gold dinar, a silver dirham, and a copper “feloos” for small change.

The jihadist group and its leader, the self-proclaimed “caliph” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, almost certainly consider the establishment of a mint an essential building block for their larger goal of restoring an ancient Islamic empire.