Popular Quran app, Quran Majeed, has been removed from the App Store in China. According to the app’s maker, PDMS, it was because the app including content that “requires additional documentation from Chinese authorities”, but they still have yet to get further explanations from China’s authorities.
“According to Apple, our app Quran Majeed has been removed from the China App store because it includes content that requires additional documentation from Chinese authorities… We are trying to get in touch with the Cyberspace Administration of China and relevant Chinese authorities to get this issue resolved,” said PDMS in a statement.
The deletion of the app was first noticed by Apple Censorship—a website that monitors apps on Apple’s App Store globally. A quick visit to their site reveals that a Bible app—NIV Bible App +—had been banned from China’s App Store as well.
According to PDMS, it “apparently had nothing to do with its religious content”. But without clearer explanation from Apple and China’s authorities, we don’t know why exactly it was removed in China.
Quran Majeed is a free Quran app and “recognised by 25 million Muslim users around the world”. It also includes worldwide prayer times, four English translations of the Quran from four scholars—-as well as 45 language translations, and many other features.
Apple declined to comment, but their decision to comply to China isn’t surprising. According to their human rights policy, they are “required to comply with local laws, and at times there are complex issues about which we may disagree with governments”.
It’s also not the first time Apple has complied with China’s authorities. They have removed VPN apps that allowed Chinese users to avoid censorship, and they even filtered out apps that mentioned Tiananmen Square, the Dalai Lama, or Taiwanese and Tibetan independence.
As for China, the country has been accused of human rights violations—including genocide—against the mostly Muslim Uyghur ethnic group in Xinjiang. In May, it was reported that China had imprisoned or detained at least 630 imams and other Muslim religious figures since 2014 in its crackdown in the Xinjiang region. Removing a popular app used by Muslims isn’t a great look for China, considering the accusations.
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