Rapper Joey Boy and songwriter 'Suki' Kamol Sukosol Clapp apologised to "all Muslims" for producing the song, "Maya".

Joey Boy, whose real name is Abhisit Opasiemlikit, said at a news conference: "I did not intend to insult the Quran in any way. If I knew that there was an insulting sound or element in my song, Suki and I would not have created it."

The song was initially released in 1998 on a Joey Boy CD called Bangkok Boy and appeared again on the 2005 compilation The Conclusive Collection, said Saharat Vanchompoo, marketing director for Sony BMG Music Entertainment Thailand.

Saharat said Sony BMG had recalled both CDs and that they would probably be destroyed. Suki said he sampled the sound from a CD called World Sounds and thought it "was the sound of people singing, but now I understand that it is a verse from the Quran. I want to apologise to all Muslims ... I did something that I did not know."

Cultural understandings

"[It] was the sound of people singing, but now I understand that it is a verse from the Quran. I want to apologise to all Muslims... I did something that I did not know"

'Suki' Kamol Sukosol Clapp, songwriter

He said artists today must be more careful to educate themselves about cultures they do not understand.

"Thai people know that if they write a song, they are not to insult the king. We know this because we are Thai," Suki said.

"But we may not understand other cultures so well, so artistes have to study these things carefully before they produce their work."

Suki, Joey Boy and BMG's Saharat said they had requested a meeting as soon as possible with Thailand's top Muslim leader to formally apologise.

An article on the Thai-language Muslim website, www.muslimthai.com, said the song "clearly insults the Quran ... the Quran strictly forbids the use of its verses in songs".

Complaints

Nithi Hasan, president of the Council of Muslim Organisations of Thailand said it agreed with complaints received in recent days, saying in a telephone interview:
"We don't think it was appropriate  -we don't agree with this. He shouldn't do this."

Nithi said he did not know why the song's contents only became an issue now, but that it was not related to recent protests against the publication by some European newspapers of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.

He said it was good that Joey Boy apologised and the matter would probably be closed.