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Egypt’s Islamic religious leader is now weighing in interpreting the legitimacy of cryptocurrency trading, local news reported.

Shawki Allam, the current Grand Mufti of Egypt, the highest official of the Islamic religious law, said on Jan 1 that cryptocurrency trading is forbidden under the Islamic religious law due to the risk associated with the activity, according to Egypt Today.

Through the format of a fatwa, an interpretation of the Islamic religious law usually issued by a qualified jurist such as a Grand Mufti, Shawki Allam’s comments, though not binding, still come as an high level legal opinion, and perhaps mark him one of the first highest-ranking religious leaders who come forward to forbid the cryptocurrency trading under the Islamic religious law.

According to the report, apart from the trading volatility, Shawki Allam also cited additional reasons for the formal decision after discussion with economic experts.

He highlighted that the anonymity and untraceability features of bitcoin can undermines the legal system by enabling tax evasion, money laundry, fraudulent activities and financing terrorists. For instance, as reported just last month, a New York woman was indicted for allegedly giving financial support to the ISIS terrorists using cryptocurrencies.

Although currently Egypt is still at a nascent stage of the cryptocurrency market, comments from Shawki Allam somewhat came aligned with the secular government bodies.

As reported before, after rumors spread that domestic banks will handle cryptocurrencies, the Central Bank of Egypt quickly shot down the rumor and commented 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.

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