Bitcoin Un-Islamic: Says Turkish Religious Authority, Citing Speculative Nature and Illegal Activities

The Turkish religious authority has said that Bitcoin is not compatible with Islam because its valuation is "open to speculation."

Bitcoin has had its share of critics in the financial industry for a while. However, more recently, Islamic authorities are critical of the cryptocurrency for other reasons.

Today, Turkey’s Directorate on Religious Affairs—known colloquially in Turkey as the “Diyanet” for its designation as “Diyanet İşleri Başkanlığı”—has condemned the currency for what it perceives as a vessel for illegal activities.

“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,” the organization said in a statement.

It’s important to remember that the Diyanet is only a religious authority in Turkey and its statements are typically relevant only to the segment of the population that isn’t secular.

The reason this is important is because the Turkish Central Bank issued a statement in early November, praising cryptocurrencies for their potential role in financial stability.

Also, at the beginning of this month, the Islamic Republic of Iran said that it will be preparing its infrastructure to better cater to the use of Bitcoin.

“We as the main center in Iran dealing with the country’s technology developments have taken very seriously the issue of preparing the infrastructure for the new currency. Arrangement [sic] are being made with the related organizations to put together the infrastructure as early as possible,” said Amir Hossein Davaee, the Minister of Information and Communication Technology.

In all likelihood, Bitcoin trade in Turkey will not be affected by the Diyanet. However, it’s worth noting that foreign financial services like PayPal have had difficulties operating in the area since the middle of last year.