Apple has removed an app that allowed users to read the Muslim holy book, the Quran, in China, according to a new report from the BBC. The application, known as Quran Majeed, is incredibly popular around the world and is currently ranked 51 in Google’s US App Store for Reference Materials.
The Quran app was removed in China after government officials made a request, according to the BBC, but it is not clear why the ruling Chinese Communist Party would want the app removed. Apple did not immediately respond to Gizmodo’s request for clarification on Friday morning.
As the BBC notes, the Chinese Communist Party recognizes Islam as a valid religion in the country, but the officially atheist Chinese government has been criticized around the world for its treatment of the predominantly Muslim Uyghur population in the North Province. western Xinjiang. Between 1 and 3 million Uyghurs have reportedly been held in concentration camps in recent years, although recent reports suggest most have been released and now live a much freer life than a year ago.
According to a recent article by Associated press:
It is unclear why the Chinese authorities have shifted to more subtle methods of controlling the region. It may be that harsh criticism from the West, along with punitive political and trade sanctions, has caused authorities to relax. Or it may simply be that China feels it has gone far enough in its goal of subduing Uyghurs and other predominantly Muslim minorities to loosen its grip.
Uyghur activists abroad accuse Chinese government of genocide, stressing plunging birth rates and massive detentions. The authorities say their goal is not to eliminate the Uyghurs but to integrate them, and that tough measures are needed to fight extremism.
The Chinese Embassy in the United States did not immediately respond to a request for comment early on Friday. Oddly enough, the Chinese Embassy spokesperson has a Gmail account, which is a bit odd, given China’s aversion to Silicon Valley and Big Tech’s close ties to U.S. intelligence agencies.
The U.S. intelligence community has previously purchased information from private data brokers to learn more about people using Muslim prayer apps and Quran apps, according to a report last year from Vice. The data includes the locations of individual users, according to the report.
There is no indication so far that China’s concern over the Qur’an app has anything to do with U.S. intelligence, but that wouldn’t be the strangest reason, given everything that’s going on. currently with the new cold war. We will update this post if we hear from Apple or the Chinese Embassy in the US