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Did China just force Apple to remove a Quran app from the App Store?

App Store on iPhone
App Store on iPhone (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • A popular Quran app has been removed from the Chinese App Store because it contains "content that is illegal."
  • Quran Majeed is used by millions of Muslims around the world.

Quran Majeed, a hugely popular Quran app, has been removed from the Chinese App Store because it contains "content that is illegal." Apple removed the app, seemingly under pressure from China.

The app, which is used by millions of Muslims around the world, is hugely popular. However, a BBC report says that it was removed recently after Apple got in touch with its developer to notify it of the move.

In a statement from the app's maker, PDMS, the company said: "According to Apple, our app Quran Majeed has been removed from the China App Store because it includes content that is illegal.""We are trying to get in touch with the Cyberspace Administration of China and relevant Chinese authorities to get this issue resolved".

The company said it had close to one million users in China before the app's deletion. And while the app will continue to function on devices where it has already been installed, nobody will be able to download it on new devices — including people who upgrade to new ones from devices where the app is already present.

Apple declined to comment but did direct the BBC to its Human Rights Policy, with the line "We're required to comply with local laws, and at times there are complex issues about which we may disagree with governments" of particular importance. Chinese law prohibits a range of things including "the Chinese spiritual movement Falun Gong, the Dalai Lama, and independence for Tibet and Taiwan."

It seems unlikely that this is a move that will be undone, unfortunately.

Oliver Haslam
Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.

1 Comment
  • Sooner or later, Apple (and many other folks) is going to have to pick sides. The "We have to comply with local laws" dodge is only going to work for so long.