Book "offending Muslims" withdrawn

BELGRADE -- A book that the Islamic Community in Serbia has deemed offensive to Muslims has been withdrawn from the bookstores.

A strongly worded reaction from this religious community was sufficient for the Belgrade published Beobook to swiftly withdraw Sherry Jones' novel "The Jewel of Medina".

Director Aleksandar Jasić confirmed for B92 that the book will not be available "in a single bookstore in the country".

Additionally, he offered his "deepest apologies" to the Islamic Community, "for the offense that it suffered with the book's publishing".

Jasić also said his company "had no intention of insulting anyone", and hoped "it will end with this".

Previously, the Islamic organization's leader Muamer Zukorlić compared the book for B92 with the Mohammed cartoons controversy of several years ago.

"It is a book that is absolutely not refraining from desecrating something that is considered by all Muslims as untouchable. Obviously someone wishes to join the ranks of those who produced those cartoons in Denmark, and of course this is an insult to all Muslims of the world, particularly for us here in Serbia," Zukorlić, who is the mufti of the Islamic Community in Serbia, warned.

The novel that was to have a world premier in Serbia, deals with the life of Aisha, "one of prophet Mohammed's wives".

The Jewel of Medina was to be published in the United States last month, but the publisher there decided against selling the book, fearful of the reaction of radical Muslims.