A UK Turkish-owned mosque will become the country’s first to accept cryptocurrency donations during Ramadan, putting it at odds with Ankara on the subject.
Shacklewell Lane Mosque in Hackney, East London, also known as Masjid Ramadan, announced the measures as part of the Islamic traditions of Zakat and Sadaqah – giving to those in need.
The only such mosque to formally accept Bitcoin in the country, and one of just several worldwide, Shacklewell Lane partnered with local Blockchain startup Combo Innovation, which specializes in what it describes as “Islamic compliant Blockchain financial solutions.”
As various media outlets report, the idea came from Combo CEO Gurmit Singh, who suggested the idea to the mosque’s chairman Erkin Guney.
So that’s when the conversation at the mosque started. We soon realized this was relatively uncharted water. […] There were a couple of mosques abroad that also announced they were going to accept cryptocurrency. It looks like we may be the first in Britain to do so.
Dealing With ‘Incompatible’ Crypto
As Britain’s only Turkish-owned mosque, Shacklewell is in a unique situation in terms of Ankara’s perspective on cryptocurrency.
Late last year, Bitcoinist reported on how government advisors had determined that Bitcoin and altcoins were “not compatible” with Islamic tradition and were thus unsuitable for Muslims.
In response to a civil request, Turkey’s Directorate of Religious Affairs, also known as the Diyanet, 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.
Countering the suspicion, however, Singh pointed out that Western capitalism had produced its worst crashes specifically due to the presence of the speculation to which some Islamic scholars object.
Would we have had […] the granddaddy of them all, the Wall Street Crash of 1929, if speculation was not standard practice in our conventional, Western banking system?