http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/10.01/egold.html?pg=4&topic=&topic_set= In Gold We Trust (continued) There aren't too many Murabitun in the world; they number probably in the thousands. But they are avid proselytizers, supported in part by Dubai's royal Maktoum family, and they've established significant communities in Germany, England, South Africa, Indonesia, and Spain (though none is quite so impressive, perhaps, as the Murabitun outpost in Chiapas, Mexico, a community of 600 local Indians converted in the midst of the Zapatista uprising). Scattered though they are, community leaders see one another often, convening regularly in the small Scottish town of Achnagairn, home to the movement's founder and patriarch, the 71-year-old Sheikh Abdalqadir As-Sufi. For most of his life, the sheikh went by the proper Scots name Ian Dallas. In the 1960s, he worked as an actor and promoter, making the scene in London and Paris and hanging with Allen Ginsberg, the Beatles, and other hippie icons. Increasingly disillusioned with the counterculture, Dallas wound up in Morocco, where he met the Sufi spiritual leader Sheikh Muhammad ibn al-Habib and became a Muslim. Sheikh Muhammad had a vision: The modern revival of Islam, he believed, would come from, as he put it, "the people who pee standing" - from Westerners. Ian Dallas, now Abdalqadir, was anointed to take the lead. "Go to your land and see what will happen," Sheikh Muhammad told him, and he went. Back in London, Sheikh Abdalqadir slowly gathered acolytes from among the drifting spiritual seekers of the day. Murabitun legend has it that pop star Cat Stevens (later Yusuf Islam) got his first exposure to Islam from Sheikh Abdalqadir, when both of them used to hang out at T. Rex singer Marc Bolan's house. Others became hardcore followers, donning djellabas and turbans and helping the sheikh shape Murabitun belief into a curiously worldly mysticism - a radical Islam tinged with elements of classic European anarchism, moderate feminism, refined anti-Semitism, and dense Heideggerian phenomenology. It wasn't until the mid-1980s, however, that the members of the Murabitun truly began to set themselves apart from the run of post-hippie spiritual movements. Sheikh Abdalqadir came to believe that if there was anything a group of Western Muslims was best positioned to contribute to the world, it was an Islamic cleansing of the global financial system. And so he set his closest followers - in particular Umar Vadillo - the task of studying classic Islamic texts on money, with a view to drawing out their modern implications. The result, published in 1991, was the "Fatwa Concerning the Islamic Prohibition of Using Paper-Money as a Medium of Exchange." "You want to be radical? You don't need to blow up the bank, just burn your bank account. For that you need an alternative. What is the alternative? E-dinar." In the wake of fatwas sentencing Salman Rushdie to death and launching Osama bin Laden's terrorist jihad, Vadillo's sounds almost comically wonky. But make no mistake: This is an extreme document. The Bible condemns the financial practice of usury, certainly, and Islam does so even more firmly, prohibiting as haram, or unlawful, not only excessive but any interest charges on debt - a stricture that generally requires orthodox Muslims to leap through awkward theological hoops just to keep their money in a bank. But what Vadillo objects to, and in no uncertain terms, is modern money itself. "After examining all the aspects of paper money," he writes, "in the Light of the Qur'an and the Sunna, we declare that the use of paper money in any form of exchange is usury and therefore haram." Naturally, you can't comply with the fatwa merely by paying with plastic instead of paper. Paper money is a usurious cheat, Vadillo argues, largely because it has become "nothing but a pure symbol with no reality attached except the imposition of law." And since that same unreality undergirds the entire monetary system, the only honest way to escape its taint is to strive for the entire system's destruction. The fatwa, in short, is a call to financial jihad, and the struggle, Vadillo predicts, will be an unconventional one. Muslim information warriors will hack into banking networks and "transfer money at random." They will create dummy companies and "absorb debt that will never be paid back." They will "raid" the diamond and gold markets, which, according to Sheikh Abdalqadir's way of thinking, represent the hoarded wealth of the world's great usurers, the Jews. But these are tactics for a war that has yet to come, and may not ever. For now, and before all else, there's one thing Muslims everywhere need to do to hasten the end of the paper-currency regime and with it the demise of capitalism, the liberation of Islam, and the restoration (insh'allah) of the caliphate: They must work together to create a righteous alternative. They must bring back gold and silver as a standard medium of exchange.