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Dollar Store

Claim:   U.S. $1 bills are being circulated with the words "NO GOD BUT ALLAH" stamped on them.

MIXTURE


Example:   [Collected via e-mail, June 2011]

Bet you thought you'd never see this in your lifetime.

And here I thought it was against the law to deface U.S. currency. Maybe it's not illegal under Sharia Law.

A lady in Monte Vista, CO had this dollar bill. This is her story. You don't think we're in a war. What thoughts come to mind! These are starting to show up around our country!

After dinner she took a $1 dollar bill out of her purse and displayed it on the table. Underneath the words "In God We Trust" someone had stamped the dollar bill in red ink — NO GOD BUT ALLAH. We asked her where she had gotten this dollar bill.

She said it was part of her change in Alamosa, CO. We took a picture of her dollar bill. If anyone tries to give you one of these dollar bills as change, please refuse it and ask them to give you a dollar bill that has not been defaced.

 

Origins:   Writing on, drawing on, stamping, or otherwise marking or altering currency is an ages-old practice which people have engaged in for a wide variety of reasons: to (illegally) change a bill's value, as a form of artistic expression or fandom, as an outlet for humor, as a means of tracking a given bill's circulation, or as a venue for spreading political and social (protest) messages.

A putative example from the latter category began circulating on the Internet beginning in June 2011, featuring a photograph of the reverse of a U.S. $1 bill
on which the words "NO GOD BUT ALLAH" had been stamped in red ink underneath the U.S. motto "IN GOD WE TRUST." The accompanying text claimed that an unnamed woman in Colorado had received the marked bill in change and exhorted readers to refuse to accept similarly marked bills.

Even if the backstory about the pictured bill is accurate, it doesn't appear to be evidence of any concerted or widespread movement to spread some form of anti-U.S., pro-Islam, or anti-Christian message via the marking of currency. In the two years since the original appearance of this item we haven't encountered a single other report of anyone's finding similar bills in circulation; just the continual republishing of the original photograph and the accompanying message about its anonymous recipient.

As for the statement "I thought it was against the law to deface U.S. currency," the U.S. does have laws against the mutilation of national bank obligations. However, those laws generally apply only when currency is altered for fraudulent purposes (e.g., turning a $1 bill into a facsimile of a $100 bill) or when the defacement is undertaken "with intent to render such item(s) unfit to be reissued," neither of which condition is applicable to this case.

Last updated:   19 June 2013

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