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By Agence France-Presse

One of the most eagerly-anticipated games in the history of the Sony PlayStation has been delayed because of concerns some of the background music may offend Muslims, the game’s developers said Monday.

LittleBigPlanet, in which gamers can customize the rag-doll protagonist Sackboy and allow it to roam through an interactive world filled with different challenges, had been hailed by video games website IGN as “nothing short of astounding” and given a review rating of 9.5 out of 10.

But its release date has been put back after one of its background music tracks, a song by Mali-born artist Toumani Diabate, was found to have included expressions from the Koran, which could be interpreted as an offense to Muslims.

“We’re sure that most of you have heard by now that one of the background music tracks that was licensed from a record label for use in the game contains two expressions that can be found in the Koran,” a statement on the game’s website read.

“We have taken immediate action to rectify this and we sincerely apologize for any offense this may have caused.

“We will begin shipping LittleBigPlanet to retail in North America the week of October 27.”

According to a separate statement on the website of Media Molecule, the British-based developers of LittleBigPlanet, they were “shell-shocked and gutted” by the delay to the game’s release.

“We learnt… that there is a lyric in one of the licensed tracks which some people may find offensive, and which slipped through the usual screening processes,” the statement read.

“Obviously MM and Sony together took this very seriously. LBP should be enjoyable by all.”

A post on a Sony public Internet forum alerted developers to the issue, noting that Diabate’s “Tapha Niang” included two expressions from the Koran that could cause offense to Muslims.

The forum user, who identified himself only as “yasser”, said that “Muslims consider the mixing of music and words from our Holy Quran deeply offending (sic),” in a post on Thursday.

The delayed release was welcomed by some Muslim commentators, with Manzoor Moghal of the Muslim Forum think-tank telling the BBC that the game’s developers should be praised for “taking decisive action by withdrawing these games immediately, and releasing a version that is not offensive to Muslims.”

Sony was forced to apologize in June 2007 when it emerged that one of its video games, “Resistance: Fall of Man”, featured a violent shootout inside a building that resembled an Anglican cathedral in Manchester, northern England.

The news was condemned by Anglican leaders, who demanded that the game be removed from store shelves, a request Sony refused.

In 2005, the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, deemed blasphemous in the Islamic world, in a Danish newspaper sparked outrage and violent protests in several countries.

The caricatures were then reprinted earlier this year by several other Danish newspapers.

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