Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 July 2019

Legal action launched against Apple in bid to ban hate app

European groups join forces to ban Muslim Brotherhood linked Euro Fatwa App

The app features an introduction by Yusuf Al Qaradawi . AFP
The app features an introduction by Yusuf Al Qaradawi . AFP

A pan-European anti-extremism campaign is launching legal action against Apple over its hosting of a radical hate app linked to the Muslim Brotherhood.

At a special conference in Paris, a group of British and French politicians joined anti-extremism think tanks to call on a blanket ban on the Euro Fatwa App.

The hate app, which was launched in April, was created by the European Council for Fatwa and Research, a Dublin private foundation set up by Yusuf Al Qaradawi, spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Touted as a guide to help Muslims adhere to Islam, critics including Germany’s security service say the app is a radicalisation tool.

It contains an introduction by Al Qaradawi, now 93, in which he makes derogatory references to Jews while speaking about historic fatwas.

It also claims European laws do not have to be obeyed if they contradict Islamic rules.

Despite Google immediately pulling the app from its platforms, Apple has continued to allow the free app to be downloaded.

On Friday, Apple faced heavy international criticism to remove it.

Ghanem Nuseibeh, chair of Muslims Against Anti-Semitism, said: “We really have had enough of turning a blind eye on such incitement.

“So in the public interest we have instructed our legal teams to start legal proceedings against all those hosting the app. We will spare no efforts to ensure the app is no longer legally available. We are calling on the government’s in Europe to ban the app.

“Our legal team are looking at all legal options including injunctive relief against those facilitating the app.”

French politician Nathalie Goulet has presented a report to France’s Interior Minister on the app.

“We want to take political action in our shared desire to ban this,” she told the congregation at the Palace du Luxembourg.

“All the governments in the world are saying they want to cut financing of terrorism but not enough is being done.

“Whilst someone like Qaradawi can be banned physically nonetheless he has been able to enter these places digitally.”

The consortium are travelling to Dublin, where the legal action will be lodged, to urge for immediate action to be taken.

British MP, Ian Paisley Jr said: “We are travelling to Dublin and speaking to the authorities to highlight how easily these treacherous and terrible things can arise in their jurisdiction and how they need to be more vigilant.”

He has written to British banks to block the finances behind the app.

Ms Goulet said they have “absolutely no doubt” that this is being financed by a criminal network and it needs addressing.

Haras Rafiq, former CEO of think tank Quilliam, said: “This is an Islamist supremacist app.

“Without groups like this who are affiliated to the Muslim Brotherhood there would be no Al Qaeda, no ISIS and we would not have Islamist terrorism.

“The organisation behind the app even though it is in Dublin, comes from the UK and was set up by Qaradawi. In 2004, 2,500 Muslim academics called him a 'Sheikh of Death' in a letter to the UN.

“There are seven stages of radicalisation. This app takes everybody through the first six stages of behavioural radicalisation.

“If Apple is serious about stopping the next ISIS group they have to get rid of this app.”

Apple has been approached for a comment, it previously told the National that while the app was available for download it was not promoting it in its store.

“We are reviewing Euro Fatwa again for possible violations of our guidelines and, if we find content that violates our guidelines and is harmful to users, we will notify the developer and may remove it from the store," an Apple spokesman said.

Al Qaradawi, who lives in Qatar, is banned from the US, UK and France for his extremist views.

The UK government has previously criticised those making the app available for download, saying it will take tough action on social media companies that help to promote hate.

So far no country has banned the app because they are only able to put sanctions in place against social media companies.

Fiyaz Mughal, of the Faith Matters NGO, said: “There are a whole range of people here who are saying the values we hold dear in Europe are under attack.

“The kind of values the Euro app has been pushing are the type of poison we have seen with Al Muhajiroun in the UK.

“We know from the UK experience they have produced some of the most violent extremists who have been exported globally. “These groups are now battling for hearts and minds, their version of Islam is a twisted version and we must not allow that to happen.”

At one point last month, the Euro Fatwa App was ranked 55th in the Apple's App Store in Germany.

The specialist report has used evidence from The National’s investigations into the Muslim Brotherhood.

The report states: “Although Qaradawi has chosen not to be the supreme chief of the Muslim Brotherhood, he is nonetheless its undisputed leader,taking Qatar as a starting point for controlling minds and coordinating positions among the branches of the organisation in different countries.

“Qaradawi’s speeches have always been inflammatory and called for armed jihad.”

Mr Paisley has renewed calls for the British government to ban the Muslim Brotherhood.

In 2015, an investigation into the Muslim Brotherhood by the British government concluded that membership “may be an indicator of extremism”, and that aspects of its ideology and tactics were contrary to the UK’s fundamental values.

Updated: July 6, 2019 05:04 PM

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