Apps are being made, published and downloaded by people everyday. Some apps are super helpful in making our daily lives much easier while some apps may not be all that useful. But there are some apps that goes against the app store policy which had ended up being removed.
After 6 years of being on the Google Play Store, the anti-LGBT e-book endorsed by Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) has been removed from the store. The e-book was originally published in 2016 as an app on Google Play Store but has now been removed due to breach of the store’s guidelines.
The Hijrah Diri app was developed by Jakim, to help those in the LGBTQ+ community to “return to the right path”. The app was published by app developer Raxbit in collaboration with Ihtimam Malaysia Foundation, a Putrajaya-based social foundation that has the Raja Permaisuri Agong as its patron.
The reason for why it took 6 years for the app to be taken down is probably due to Google not being obligated to monitor every app published unless it’s been brought to their attention. According to Google’s guidelines, apps that “attempt to deceive users or enable dishonest behaviour” or are “determined to be functionally impossible” are disallowed.
Google told The Guardian that, “Whenever an app is flagged to us, we investigate against our Play Store policies and if violations are found we take appropriate action to maintain a trusted experience for all.” The e-book is claimed to be written by an anonymous man who is a ‘former gay’ Muslim and blamed homosexual activities on human lust.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Idris Ahmad, who is in charge of religious affairs, says that the removal of the app from the Play Store is unfortunate. He has also instructed Jakim to contact the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) for more information and advise on what to do.
Before the removal, the Hijrah Diri app has received backlash locally and globally especially those in the LGBTQ+ community. The app is not the first conversion therapy app to be removed from Google Play Store as the store once removed an app from a United States-based group Living Hope Ministries that promoted so-called “conversion therapy”.
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