It has been reported by dcebrief.com that two religious officials in Zonguldak, Turkey, have been removed from the post of imams by Turkey’s Presidency of Religious Affairs after they were allegedly caught engaged in bitcoin trading by Turkey’s Directorate of Religious Affairs, or Diyanet.
According to the news published in news.bitcoin.com, Mecit K who is an imam in a mosque at Zonguldak city center, and Satilimis B, an imam in the surrounding villages, had begun using Bitcoin on the internet and were caught as part of an investigation by Diyanet. But, both men have appealed the determinations and said that they both are innocent and were wrongly caught in this investigation.
In November 2017, Diyanet had announced that it would not permit the use of cryptocurrencies and issued a fatwa against the use of digital currencies. It said, “Buying and selling virtual currencies is not compatible with religion at this time because of the fact that their valuation is open to speculation, they can be easily used in illegal activities like money laundering, and they are not under the state’s audit and surveillance.”
They also said it is acceptable to use any other currency or money which has at least some kind of value of exchange and which gains the users’ trust.
Islamic collusion with cryptocurrencies
This news reminds us that it is not only the financial entities and governments that are struggling to come to terms with the digital currency revolution. Some religious officials as, most conspicuously in the Islamic world, are against the use of digital currencies. As a result, the Muslim leaders have issued several fatwas declaring Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies inappropriate with the Islamic faith in 2017.
As per news in rt.com, in the year 2017, The Egyptian Grand Mufti issued an official fatwa, banning bitcoin, which soared in value and reached the $20,000 mark in December, claiming that trade in cryptocurrency is similar to gambling, which is forbidden in Islam.
Bitcoin and other digital currencies have not been declared illegal in Turkey. Still, some officials and religious authorities have admonished people of Turkey to stay away from getting involved with cryptocurrency and also issued a warning to the Turks. In a tweet posted in December, the Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek advised the people of Turkey to “steer clear of this speculation” and make people aware of the pressing issues associated with the use of cryptocurrencies in terrorist financing and money laundering.
In similar news from bitcoin.com, Turkish companies are interested in buying Venezuelan cryptocurrency El Petro as they see a huge profit in the oil-backed token. Nicolás Maduro, Head of state Venezuela, said, “companies willing to buy petro come from Colombia, Spain, Mexico, Argentina, Peru, Turkey, Germany, Russia, China, Ecuador, and Chile”.
It is conflicting information as the Turkish government does not seem pleased with digital currencies and their users. The Egyptian Grand Mufti has termed crypto as a financial disaster to any Muslim individual. Amidst these statements, it can be hard for Turkish companies to buy virtual money from a foreign land. The ultimate action taken against the imams will clarify Turkish stand over the new age of money production and consumption of newer forms of currency.