Egypt’s highest Islamic religious leader is now weighing in on the legitimacy of cryptocurrency trading.
Shawki Allam, the current Grand Mufti of Egypt, said on Jan. 1 that cryptocurrency trading is forbidden under Islamic religious law due to the risk associated with the activity, according to Egypt Today.
Allam issued his comments in the form of a fatwa, an interpretation of Islamic religious law. While the fatwa is not legally binding, it does count as a high-level legal opinion, and perhaps marks him as one of the first highest-ranking religious leaders in the Muslim world to forbid cryptocurrency trading under religious law.
According to the report, apart from its trading volatility, Shawki Allam also cited bitcoin’s anonymity as a cause for concern, saying it can undermine the legal system by enabling tax evasion, money laundering, fraudulent activities and terrorist financing.
Just last month, a New York woman was indicted for allegedly giving financial support to ISIS terrorists using cryptocurrencies.
Although Egypt is still at a nascent stage of the cryptocurrency market, comments from Allam are similar to comments made by secular government bodies.
As previously reported, the Central Bank of Egypt refuted rumors that it would allow banks to process bitcoin transactions, saying at the time:
“For stability of the Egyptian banking system, the banks deal with the official currencies only, and never deal with any virtual currencies.”
Egypt national flag via CoinDesk’s archive.