A spokesman for the CRE said: "This book contains imagery and words of hideous racial prejudice, where the 'savage natives' look like monkeys and talk like imbeciles.
"It beggars belief that in this day and age Borders would think it acceptable to sell and display Tintin In The Congo. High street shops, and indeed any shops, ought to think very carefully about whether they ought to be selling and displaying it."
The spokesman said the only acceptable place for the book was "in a museum, with a big sign saying 'old fashioned, racist claptrap' ". An assistant at the Tintin shop in London's Covent Garden said there were no plans to remove the book from sale and added that the book is "a product of its time".
WH Smith said the book is sold on its website but with a label which recommends it for readers aged 16 and over.
Waterstone's said it would not censor the book but is considering moving copies from the children's section.
Ann Widdecombe, the Conservative MP, said it was "ludicrous" for the CRE to try to ban a 75-year-old book and claimed its outburst would damage the watchdog's reputation. "I understand the view that it shouldn't be on sale to children but the publishers have taken care of that.