Egypt's top imam has issued a fatwa against Bitcoin, calling for a ban on the digital currency. Likening Bitcoin trading to gambling, Egypt's Grand Mufti Shawki Allam said the cryptocurrency is forbidden under Islam.

The imam said he issued the fatwa after consulting several economic experts. Allam said Bitcoin can undermine the stability of Egypt's own currency, adding that the cryptocurrency can "ease in money laundering and contrabands trade", the Egyptian daily Arham reported.

Allam also said that cryptocurrencies can affect "the state's authority in preserving currency exchange, as well as its necessary supervising measures on domestic and foreign financial activities".

"This currency is used directly to fund terrorists," the Egyptian Grand Mufti's Counsellor, Magdy Ashour, told Egypt Today. "It has no set rules, which is considered as a contract annulment in Islam, that is why it is forbidden."

In December, the head of the Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority (EFSA), Mohamed Omran, declared Bitcoin trading illegal in the country, just months after the very first Bitcoin exchange was opened in Egypt earlier in the year.

Egypt is not the only country to call for a Bitcoin ban. The Middle East Monitor reported that a Saudi minister, Assim Al-Hakim, also recently declared the digital currency as forbidden due to its ability to provide anonymity to criminals.

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"We know that Bitcoins remain anonymous when you deal with it... which means that it's an open gate for money laundering, drug money and haram [forbidden] money. Muslims should not get involved in such dubious transactions simply to make a quick buck, to make a quick profit. This is not an Islamic concept," Al-Hakim was quoted as saying.

Meanwhile, the recent sharp escalation in the value of Bitcoin has led to numerous cyberattacks against cryptocurrency exchanges across the globe. Hackers have now taken to launching cyrptocurrency-mining attacks against unsuspecting users to make a quick buck.

Saudi minister, Assim Al-Hakim, also recently declared Bitcoin as forbidden due to its ability to provide anonymity to criminals Pixabay/Creative Commons