Egypt’s leading Muslim cleric declared Bitcoin haram, or forbidden, according to Islamic law and called for a ban on the crypto-currency.
Shawki Allam, the Grand Mufti of Egypt, issued a fatwa banning bitcoin for Muslims since it was not considered an “acceptable interface of exchange,” by government authorities, according to Ahram Online. Allam likened the exchange of any crypto-currency to gambling, which is also considered haram “due to its direct responsibility in financial ruin for individuals.”
“Bitcoin is forbidden in Sharia as it causes harm to individuals, groups, and institutions,” Allam’s fatwa said according to Ahram.
Allam’s fatwa against Bitcoin comes on the heels of an announcement by Egypt’s Financial Regulatory Authority that enticing people to use or engage in the trade of crypto-currency constituted a “form of deception that falls under legal liability.”
Allam expounded on that reasoning, saying that bitcoin could put dealers in precarious legal standing because of a lack of public disclosure about their crypto-currency operations and that bitcoin also undermines Egypt’s ability to regulate domestic and international commerce, according to Times of Israel. Allam made his Fatwa according to the counsel of his adviser Magdy Ashour and “several economy experts,” according to Ahram Online.
“This currency is used directly to fund terrorists,” Ashour told Egypt Today. “It has no set rules, which is considered as a contract annulment in Islam, that is why it is forbidden.” (RELATED: FEDS: New York Woman Laundered Nearly 100K In Bitcoin For ISIS)
Despite the Financial Regulatory Authority’s negative stance toward Bitcoin, Egypt has largely straddled the line on the legality use of crypto-currencies. Mohamed Omran, head of the Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority, announced Dec. 17 that bitcoin trading was illegitimate in Egypt. The Egyptian government, however, has not banned the use of crypto-currencies as Bolivia and Bangladesh have done, but neither has the country become “digital-currency friendly” as Sweden and Japan have.
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