Page last updated at 12:28 GMT, Thursday, 23 October 2008 13:28 UK

Musician defends Sony game song

File photo of Toumani Diabate
Toumani Diabate plays the kora, or West African harp

The Malian musician whose song is being removed from a Sony video game because of concern it may offend Muslims has denied the music was blasphemous.

Grammy award-winning Toumani Diabate said the song celebrated the Koran.

"In my family there are only two things we know - the Koran and the kora [West African harp]," he told the BBC.

The release of the much-anticipated LittleBigPlanet was delayed when it was found that a background music track included two phrases from the Koran.

Copies of the game are being removed from shops around the world.

Diabate, a Muslim, said it was normal in Mali to mix religion and music.

"I'm really sad and I'm disappointed," he said.

"I don't want anybody to joke with Islam and to not respect Islam."


The game's creator, Media Molecule, said it was alerted to the problem by a Muslim gamer who had been playing a trial version.

The gamer had warned in an e-mail that mixing music and words from Islam's most holy text could be considered deeply offensive by Muslims.

A Sony spokesman said earlier this week that the company had decided on global recall to make sure there was "no possible way anyone may be offended by the music in the game".

At the time, a spokesman for the Muslim Forum think-tank praised Sony for its decision, saying the Koran should not be set to music because the words are seen to have come directly from God.

Diabate said his song, Tapha Niang, was recorded in 2004.

It was released on the album Boulevard de l'Independance in 2006.

The changed version of LittleBigPlanet will now go on sale on 3 November in the UK and 29 October in the US.

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