In Brief

Fireman Sam episode pulled over 'Koran mistake'

Production firm apologises after animated children's character is seen stepping on page from religious text

270616-wd-firemansam.jpg

An episode of the children's animation Fireman Sam has been removed from Channel 5's streaming service after it appeared to show one of the characters stepping on a page of the Koran.

The scene shows a firefighter trampling on documents scattered across the floor. He then slips and the papers fly into the air, revealing one page that appears to be from the Islamic holy book.

The scenes were "unearthed by a member of the public" and "led to condemnation on social networking sites", the Daily Telegraph reports.

Muslims consider it blasphemous to defile the Koran, which is seen as the literal word of God.

Production company HIT Entertainment issued an "unreserved apology" and said it would be cutting ties with the animation studio that created the scene. "The page was intended to show illegible text and we deeply regret this error," said a spokesman.

Miqdaad Versi, the assistant secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, questioned how the mistake could have occurred. 

Channel 5 said it has no plans to show the episode on television and has pulled it from its online streaming platform.

This is not the first children's cartoon to cause offence. The BBC received hundreds of complaints in 2013 about a repeat episode of The Tweenies contained a character dressed up as disgraced TV presenter Jimmy Savile.

Animated CBBC show Ooglies also attracted complaints last year after it showed a piece of toast beheading an egg. Online users compared the scene to an Islamic State execution.

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