Tokyo, May 24: A leading Japanese publisher suspended on Thursday, May 22, the DVDs shipments of its popular animation series for containing an offensive imagery of the Qur’an and apologized to Muslims for depicting their holy book in an inappropriate way.”We sincerely apologize to Muslim people for causing offence,” a spokesperson for the Tokyo-based Shueisha publishing house said in a statement cited by Agence France Presse (AFP).
The anime of its famed series, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, depicted a character reading from the Qur’an while ordering the execution of the hero and his friends.
In the scene, the villain is shown dropping the Qur’an to open on the Arabic text from surat Ar-Ra`d (The Thunder).
The comic book, however, did not use any image of the Muslim holy book although it had a battle scene inside a mosque.
The Qur’an scene and the mosque battle generated angry responses on more than 300 Arab and Islamic Inte forums, reported Kyodo News agency.
Sheikh Abdul Hamid Attrash, chairman of the Fatwa Committee at the prestigious Cairo-based Al-Azhar University, complained it depicts Muslims as terrorists.
Shueisha described the offensive scene “a simple mistake,” adding that the Qur’an text was “unintentionally” added in order to give a sense of authenticity.
“We would like to express our sincerest apologies to Muslims for these incidents,” the publisher said on its website.
“We will work harder to learn more about Islam and Muslims and to avoid giving misconceptions.”
Shueisha publishes the most successful manga magazine, the Japanese form of graphic novels, at home and oversees.
Shueisha, Japan’s largest publishing house, and the anime production company, A.P.P.P., halted the shipment of the comic books, DVDs and videos containing the offensive images.
“Our in-house reviews of the work have led us to take action for the inappropriate use of the Qur’an, which we realize is extremely sacred,” said the spokeswoman.
Jojo’s Adventure’s popular manga has sold over 70 million copies in Japan alone.
The comic series have been published in various parts of the world, including North America, Europe and Asia.
In 2005, the Danish daily Jyllands-Posten published 12 cartoons with images of a man described as Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) including one with a bomb attached to his turban.
The caricatures led to massive protests across the Arab and Muslim world.
Muslims worldwide boycotted Danish products causing Danish companies nearly $1.5 million in losses a day at the time of the crisis.