Apple has removed a popular Quran app from the App Store in China after it received a request from officials and regulators. China is one of Apple's biggest markets and the tech company relies on the country for manufacturing its products. Apple Censorship, a website that monitors apps on Apple's App Store globally, first noted the development. The app called Quran Majeed was one of the most popular apps of its kind in China and had approximately a million users.
The app is available in other countries on the App Store and on Google Play. Apple's human rights policy notes that the company is required to comply with the local laws but during complex issues, the tech giant may disagree with governments.
The BBC quoted the app's maker, PDMS, which in a statement noted, "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."
China in recent years has been criticised for violating the human rights of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang. China's treatment of its minorities, including pushing them into forced labour in factories that make gadgets or components for gadgets, has led to a spotlight on the manufacturing and supply lines of global tech giants. Apple too, along with other tech companies, has been criticised by the rights groups for relying on Chinese supply lines and for complying with Chinese government regulations that could be arbitrary and contrary to values practiced in countries like USA.
Reports speculate that the removal of the app could be because China is cracking down on foreign content.
Another religious app, Olive Tree's Bible app, was also removed from the App Store in China this week. Although reports note that the app maker took the app down themselves citing permit issues. "Since we did not have the permit and needed to get our app update approved and out to customers, we removed our Bible app from China's App Store," the company told BBC.
Earlier this month, Amazon-owned audiobook and podcast service, Audible was removed from the App Store due to similar permit issues. Microsoft also removed the LinkedIn app from China stating that the rules were challenging in the country.
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