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A German publisher has cancelled plans to publish a mass-market novel out of fears that it might face violent protests due to a rude reference to the Koran, Der Spiegel magazine reported Saturday.
The crime novel - about the "honour killing" of a Muslim woman - had been scheduled for September publication, but the Droste publishing company of Dusseldorf decided not to print it after all, the magazine said in a story to appear in its Monday issue.
It said the publisher had first asked the author, Gabriele Brinkmann, writing under the pen name WW Domsky, to tone down dialogue in "To Those Worthy of Honour" which might be construed as offensive, but she had refused.
Spiegel reported that the offensive phrase in question was a character saying: "You can shove your Koran up ..."
Publisher Felix Droste had asked an expert on Islamic society to study whether the crime story's text could compromise the safety of his firm or his family, and the expert suggested the phrase be modified.
But the author refused to alter it to "You can shove your honour up ..."
Droste wrote back that riots over Danish cartoons that poked fun at the Prophet Mohammed in 2005 showed that anyone publishing insults to Islam was putting their safety at risk, Spiegel said.