Apple has been urged to remove an app on its platform created by a group with links to the Muslim Brotherhood, over concerns it is used to foster hate.
The Euro Fatwa app, as first reported by UAE newspaper The National, is currently available as a free download on the App Store and Google Play.
Google reportedly banned the app in May, according to multiple media reports but it is now available on its platform.
It is available in Arabic, Spanish and English and claims to help the community “fulfil their duties as Muslim citizens.”
It was created by the European Council for Fatwa and Research, a Muslim rule-making body set up by clerics with ties to Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood movement.
Among them, Yussuf al-Qaradawi, 92, who founded the organisation, is banned from entering Britain, France and the US due to his extremist views. He is considered to be one of the spiritual leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Qaradawi’s statements have elicited wide condemnations in the past, including his support for suicide bombers to attack Israelis and the claim the murder of six million Jews by Nazi Germany was “divine punishment”.
The Muslim Brotherhood, which has a membership of nearly one million people, claims it is a non-violent organisation and refutes allegations of extremism.
However the Home Office considers membership of the movement as a possible indicator of extremism and continues to keep the Muslim Brotherhood’s activities under review following a consultation in 2015, which found aspects of the movement’s ideology and tactics as “contrary to our fundamental values”.
Last month, President Trump announced his administration was working to designate the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organisation. Meanwhile, according to the Anti-Defamation League, leading figures in the Muslim Brotherhood have publicly promoted antisemitic conspiracy theories.
Ghanem Nuseibeh, chair of Muslims Against Antisemitism, shared a screenshot earlier this year of a now-deleted introduction by Qaradawi on the app containing a derogatory reference to Jews.
The statement, which is no longer available on the app, said: “Muslims became a disgrace to Islam and have acted similarly to the Jews who decreed it was correct to steal.”
Nuseibeh this week called for the app to be removed from platforms, saying: “The Muslim Brotherhood and its spiritual leader Qaradawi have been responsible for spreading more antisemitism than any other group among Muslim communities.
“There is no point banning people like Qaradawi from entering Europe or Britain if their preaching is so accessible to ordinary Muslims.”
Fiyaz Mughal, director and founder of Faith Matters, echoed criticism, saying the app was a “disaster waiting to happen”.
“Having an ‘app’ spinning around in cyber space for young impressionable Muslims to download is a disaster waiting to happen,” he said.
“Have we not learned anything over the last 30 years, that the seeds of hate and extremism are sewn in information that is left unchallenged.”
A spokesperson for Apple said in a statement: “We put great effort into curating the App Store to provide the very best experience for everyone.
“Our guidelines require that apps don’t contain upsetting or offensive content, ensuring the App Store is a safe marketplace for all. We reviewed the app and did not find a violation of our guidelines.”
Amid concerns about online extremism, the Government published a White Paper in April setting out plans to establish in law a new duty of care on companies overseen by an independent regulator.
A Home Office spokesperson said: “The Government has been clear that tech companies need to act more quickly to stop the spread of hate, both online and offline.
” We are consulting on proposals for the statutory duty of care to apply to companies and other bodies that allow users to share or discover user-generated content or interact with each other online.”
The European Council for Fatwa and Research have been contacted for comment.