A Japanese publisher apologized Thursday for "inappropriate use" of the Quran in a popular fantasy cartoon series in which a villain is seen holding the Muslim holy book.
Publishing house Shueisha said images from the Quran were unintentionally added to give a sense of authenticity to a scene in "Jojo's Bizarre Adventure".
The cartoon is based on a manga comic, which has sold 70 million copies in Japan alone.
The comic book, however, did not use any image of the Quran, although it had a battle scene inside a mosque, a spokeswoman for the publisher said.
Shueisha and an animation production firm stopped shipping the comic books, DVDs and videos containing images of the Quran and the mosque battle, she said.
"Our in-house reviews of the work have led us to take action for the inappropriate use of the Quran, which we realize is extremely sacred," the spokeswoman said.
In a joint statement with the animation firm, Shueisha said: "We sincerely apologize to Muslim people for causing offence."
Comics from the "Jojo's Bizarre Adventure" series have been published in various parts of the world, including North America, Europe and Asia.
The comics are not officially translated into Arabic, but the company is aware of criticism among Arabic speakers about the scenes, the spokeswoman said.