A fatwa against the use of digital currencies by Muslim has reportedly led to two Islamic imams losing their jobs in Turkey, according to a report from Ahval News. The two men were apparently caught engaging in Bitcoin trading on the internet during an investigation by that country’s Directorate of Religious Affairs, or Diyanet.
The imams were from the Zonguldak province in Turkey, and both worked at mosques in the area. The men had reportedly been swept up in a broader Diyanet investigation of digital currency use, which resulted in them becoming persons of interest.
The news is a reminder that governments and financial entities are not the only ones struggling to come to terms with the digital currency revolution. The phenomenon has raised questions for some religious officials as well, most notably in the Islamic world. In the last year alone, Muslim leaders have issued several fatwas declaring Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies incompatible with the Islamic faith.
The Diyanet had issued its declaration against digital currency use late last year, offering several reasons why cryptocurrency is not compatible with Islam:
“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.”
Though digital currencies have not been outlawed in Turkey, some officials have cautioned Turks about getting involved with cryptocurrency. In addition to warnings from the religious authorities, Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek advised citizens to “steer clear of this speculation” in a Twitter post last December.