Al Qaeda debuts new currencyMarch 2, 2014
Reportedly, Al Qaeda in Iraq (ISIL) is circulating its own one hundred “Islamic” pound note in western Iraq with a picture of the Twin Towers burning on 9/11 and a portrait of Osama bin Laden.
The new bills are quite a curious development considering that Islamists normally regard paper currencies as unclean “infidel” currencies invented by non-Muslim imperialists. Islamists prefer gold dinars and silver dirhams such as those used by Muhammad according to traditional Islamic texts.
ISIL may have chosen a denomination of 100 because of the popularity of U.S. $100 bills in Iraq, where they are nicknamed “ghosts” because of Iraqi perceptions of Benjamin Franklin’s sprectral appearance.
Presumably, the new currency is more of a publicity stunt than an actual, working currency that could be used to pay the wages of their fighters. The money would seem to have limited usefulness to ISIL’s men and their families, because it cannot be exchanged or used to purchase goods beyond ISIL’s territorial control.