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Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 October 2007, 13:03 GMT 14:03 UK
Kite Runner author supports delay
Khaled Hosseini
Hosseini recently released his second novel
Author Khaled Hosseini has come out in support of a decision to delay the film version of his novel The Kite Runner over fears for the stars' safety.

Studio Paramount Vantage has put the film back by six weeks, after three young Afghan actors said they could be targeted over a homosexual rape scene.

The studio has also arranged for three families to go and live abroad.

Hosseini said he "applauded" the decision. "Afghanistan has become a pretty violent place," he added.

The overall message of the film is tolerance, love, friendship and forgiveness
Khaled Hosseini
"If the boys and their families think there is a reasonable risk of threat to them, then you have to take all of the steps that you can to make sure they are okay," he told the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper.

"I applaud the studio for delaying the release of the film even though it goes against whatever commercial wisdom there is."

Harrowing attack

Hosseini, who moved to the US from Afghanistan in 1980, found major success with The Kite Runner - his debut novel - in 2003.

The book tells the story of a young boy living through the Soviet invasion in his country and the rise of the Taleban.

The harrowing scene - in which the novel's protagonist witnesses his best friend being sexually attacked but does nothing to help - is a pivotal moment in the story.

Ahmad Khan
Actor Ahmad Khan is moving to the United Arab Emirates with his family
Ahmad Jaan Mahmidzada, whose son Ahmad Khan plays Hassan, the victim of the attack, told the BBC he feared reprisals over the scene.

"I'm worried people from my tribe will turn against me, even cut my throat and kill me," he said.

Hosseini said there was no question that the scene would be cut.

"Without that moment, the tower of cards really falls apart," he said.

"The overall message of the film is tolerance, love, friendship and forgiveness," he added.

"It denounces bigotry, it denounces violence, and hatred and discrimination. I don't think anyone who walks out of that film does not understand that."

The movie will now be released on 14 December in the US.

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