The supermarket chain Carrefour has received petitions with 18,000 signatures demanding the books -- written in French with titles including The Muslim's Path and Gardens of the Saints -- be removed from store shelves, the French newspaper Le Figaro reported. Publishers claim only several pages in certain books have confrontational suggestions regarding holy war.
The Muslim's Path, by Abu Bakr al-Jazairi, includes the passage, "Muslims must set up all sorts of arms factories to produce all types of weapons in use in the world or any new invention, even to the detriment of the well-being of the nation... this is as vital as food, clothing or housing. Prepared, Jihad will be accomplished in the most satisfying conditions."
"Jihad" is interpreted by most of the world's Muslims as the struggle for adherence to religious duties; only a small minority regards it as a call to battle.
Jazairi's book also suggests the death penalty for converts to Christianity and notes "there are several ways to kill sodomists."
Mansour Mansour, chief executive of the Lebanese publishing firm Albouraq, said the controversy was overstated in that "only two or three pages (of Jazairi's book) are contentious."
A French Interior Ministry spokesman told France Info radio it was not clear if a ban on the books was appropriate, noting, "If you look at some passages of the Bible, there are certainly things that could be contested under the law."