Google bans app that features introduction from Muslim Brotherhood’s Al-Qaradawi

Yusuf Al-Qaradawi regarded as the spiritual head of the Muslim Brotherhood. (AFP)
Updated 14 May 2019
0

Google bans app that features introduction from Muslim Brotherhood’s Al-Qaradawi

  • The Euro Fatwa app was developed by the European Council for Fatwa and Research
  • The app was launched last month ahead of Ramadan

DUBAI: Google has banned from its online store a free-to-download app that featured an introduction written by Qatar-based Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, regarded as the spiritual head of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Euro Fatwa App, developed by the European Council for Fatwa and Research (ECFR), offers users a simple and concise guide “to enable the European Muslims to adhere to the regulations and manners of Islam and to fulfill their duties as Muslim citizens, while taking care of the legal, customary and cultural specificities of European societies.”

The ECFR, based in Dublin, launched the app last month ahead of Ramadan. The app is, however, still available on Apple’s App Store when Arab News accessed the site.

In the introduction to the app, the Egyptian-born cleric makes anti-Semitic references while discussing previous fatwas, or rulings regarding Islamic law. Al-Qaradawi, who has been residing in Qatar since 1961, was banned from the UK and France for extolling extremist views.

“While we can’t comment on individual apps, we’ll take swift action against any apps that break our policies once we’ve been made aware of them, including those that contain hate speech,” a Google spokesperson told Arab News.

Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt have placed Al-Qaradawi in the terror list for his support of the Muslim Brotherhood and espousal of violence across the Middle East. The US is considering the designation of the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization, a move that would impose economic and travel sanctions against the Islamist political group.

Al-Qaradawi has justified suicide bombings, especially in Palestine – even describing martyrdom as a higher form of jihad in his website; was openly hostile against Jews as a community and has issued religious edicts that demean women.

In one of his declarations against the Jews, Al-Qaradawi said on Al-Jazeera Arabic in January 2009: “Oh God, take Your enemies, the enemies of Islam … Oh God, take the treacherous Jewish aggressors … Oh God, count their numbers, slay them one by one and spare none.”


Netflix to roll out cheaper mobile-only plan for India

Updated 18 July 2019
0

Netflix to roll out cheaper mobile-only plan for India

  • India is among the last big growth markets for the company
  • Netflix faces competition from Amazon’s Prime Video and Walt Disney Co’s Hotstar
Netflix said on Wednesday it would roll out a lower-priced mobile-only plan in India within the next three months to tap into a price-sensitive market at a time the streaming company is losing customers in its home turf.
India is among the last big growth markets for the company, where it faces competition from Amazon.com Inc’s Prime Video and Hotstar, a video streaming platform owned by Walt Disney Co’s India unit.
Netflix lost US streaming customers for the first time in eight years on Wednesday, when it posted quarterly results. It also missed targets for new subscribers overseas.
“India is a mobile-first nation, where many first-time users are experiencing the Internet on their phones. In such a scenario, a mobile-only package makes sense to target new users,” said Tarun Pathak, analyst at Counterpoint Research.
The creator of “Stranger Things” and “The Crown” said in March that it was testing a 250-rupee ($3.63) monthly subscription for mobile devices in India, where data plans are among the cheapest in the world.
The country figures prominently in Chief Executive Officer Reed Hastings’ global expansion plans.
“We believe this plan, which will launch in the third quarter, will be an effective way to introduce a larger number of people in India to Netflix and to further expand our business,” the company said in a letter to investors released late on Wednesday.
Netflix currently offers three monthly plans in India, priced between 500 rupees ($7.27) and 800 rupees $11.63).
It has created a niche following in the country by launching local original shows like the thriller “Sacred Games” and dystopian tale “Leila,” which feature popular Bollywood actors.
The second season of “Sacred Games” is set to release in August.
In contrast, Hotstar, which also offers content from AT&T Inc’s HBO and also streams live sports, charges 299 rupees ($4.35) per month. Amazon bundles its video and music streaming services with its Prime membership.
“We’ve been seeing nice steady increases in engagement with our Indian viewers that we think we can keep building on. Growth in that country is a marathon, so we’re in it for the long haul,” Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos said.