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Publisher rejects novel fearing Muslim reaction

A Japanese publisher has refused to publish a Danish novel amid fears that it could upset Muslim readers.

india Updated: Feb 07, 2007 16:48 IST

A Japanese publisher has refused to publish a novel written by a Danish author amid fears that it could upset Muslim readers, the writer's Copenhagen agent said on Monday.

The Shimanaka Shoten company has "cancelled the planned publication" of The Enemy in the Mirror by Leif Davidsen, who has written a number of spy novels that have been translated into several languages, agent Anneli Hoejer told TV2 News.

"It's a suspenseful thriller and absolutely not controversial in my opinion," she said, referring to the novel which is set the day after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.

Shimanaka Shoten said however it feared a reprisal of the July 1991 killing of the Japanese translator of Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses, Hitoshi Igarashi, who was gunned down outside his home.

The publisher said it was concerned by one of the characters in Davidsen's book, a Muslim militant who wanted to commit attacks out of hatred for the West.

But the author told the Danish daily Politiken that one cannot compare the subject of his book with The Satanic Verses.

"It's the crisis due to the Mohammed caricatures row that has scared the Japanese," he said, noting that his book was "not critical towards Islam or Muslims".

Spy novelist Leif Davidsen has hit a road-block in the Japanese publication of his novel The Enemy in the Mirror

The caricatures, printed in September 2005 in the Jyllands-Posten daily, were considered offensive by many Muslims. One of the cartoons featured the prophet wearing a turban that holds a bomb with a lighted fuse.

Their publication sparked violent protests in a number of Muslim countries in January and February 2006.

Shimanaka Shoten bought the rights to Davidsen's book in 2004 when it came out and gave the author a 20,000 Kroner (€2,680, $3,500) advance.

The author said that if he "had been Swedish or Norwegian, the book would have come out a long time ago in Japan."

Davidsen called the publisher's reaction "ridiculous" and said he hoped another publisher would print the book.

First Published: Feb 07, 2007 16:48 IST