Saudi Arabia summoned the Czech ambassador to protest against a new translation of Salman Rushdie's book "Satanic Verses", Saudi state media said on Friday, 27 years after the novel triggered mass demonstrations and a death threat against the author.
The kingdom told the ambassador the book insulted both Islam and Muslims and asked him to try and halt its publication, the SPA agency added, citing a source in the Saudi foreign ministry.
Prague-based literary publisher Paseka told Reuters it had not heard of any complaint, and its 5,000-strong print run of the book, released in April, had already almost sold out.
Company director Filip Mikes said it had now published 11 of Rushdie's titles. "We have been and will continue to publish (Rushdie)," he added. The book's translator used a pseudonym.
The Czech foreign ministry said the book had come up in a meeting with Saudi authorities, and its ambassador had explained the publication was allowed under Czech law.
Rushdie's novel, first published in Britain in 1988, caused outrage among Muslims who deemed it blasphemous.
The late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Iran's supreme religious leader, pronounced a fatwa, or religious edict, a year later that called on Muslims to kill the British author.