Lebanon has banned Dan Brown’s bestselling novel The Da Vinci Code after Catholic leaders said it was offensive to Christianity.
Bookstores said on Thursday that security authorities had told them to take French, English and Arabic copies off the shelves.
The publishers have been banned from distributing more copies.
“It was one of our most popular books,” said Roger Haddad, assistant manager at Virgin Megastore’s bookshop in Beirut. “This is censorship. This book is fiction, not political or propaganda or history.”
In The Da Vinci Code, an academic uncovers riddles hidden in the religious works of the famous painter.
For Lebanon’s Catholic information centre, whose criticism apparently led to the ban, it struck too deeply against Christianity.
The centre’s president, Father Abdou Abu Kasm, said: “There are paragraphs that touch the very roots of the Christian religion … They say Jesus Christ had a sexual relationship with Mary Magdalene, that they had children.
“Those things are difficult for us to accept, even if it’s supposed to be fiction.”
A security source said: “We have to work for public interest, banning anything that could worsen sectarian prejudices or offend religions.”
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