LONDON (Reuters) – Looking for a new way to give money to charity as part of Ramadan? A mosque in Britain’s capital is willing to receive your donation – in bitcoin.
The Shacklewell Lane Mosque in Dalston, east London, has decided to accept bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in a bid to widen its donor base and cut down on currency conversion fees, mosque leaders said.
“For a donor that already has a bitcoin or an ethereum account, the effort of converting cryptocurrency into say British pounds or dollars can be quite burdensome. The mosque effectively takes the burden on themselves,” said blockchain consultant Lukasz Musial, who helped the mosque set up the technology.
“For the donor, it’s just the click of a button to transfer to an account provided by the charity. From the mosque’s perspective, it opens a new stream of donations coming from all over the world,” Musial said.
Egypt’s Grand Mufti, the nation’s top Sunni Muslim official, said this year bitcoin was not permitted according to Islamic law, Egyptian media reported, but Shacklewell imam Abdalla Adeyemi defended the mosque’s decision.
“Bitcoin is like any other currency. It’s … accepted by a group of people …. We ourselves are not trading. We are not involved … we are a charity,” Adeyemi told Reuters.
The mosque says it is one of a handful to accept cryptocurrencies out of hundreds in London and its move is yielding results. It says it is on track to double its donations this year to more than £10,000 ($13,300).
Muslims with the means are religiously obliged to give alms, often calculated based on Islamic texts as being 2.5 percent of their wealth, and many do so during the holy month, a time when Muslim charities are most active.
(Reporting by Parul Gupta; Writing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg; Editing by Alison Williams)