Marvel comics have come under fire after it was discovered that an Indonesian artist inserted 'secret, coded anti-Christian and anti-Jewish messages' in a recent issue to protest the Christian governor of Jakarta.
According to the Jakarta Post, the artwork found in X-Men Gold #1 features several hidden references to passages of the Koran and Muslim protests against the Christian governor of Jakarta, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama.
After fans took to social media to express outrage over the hidden passages, Marvel Comics announced it plans to take disciplinary action against Ardian Syaf, the artist responsible for the drawings, and will remove the artwork from the popular comic.
The Mail Online notes that on one of the panels showing a baseball match between the new members of the X-Men, "QS 5:51" - a reference to the surah Al Maidah verse 51 of the Quran - is written on Colossus's shirt.
That section translates: "Oh you who have believed, do not take the Jews and the Christians as allies. They are [in fact] allies of one another. And whoever is an ally to them among you - then indeed, he is [one] of them. Indeed, Allah guides not the wrongdoing people."
In addition, the numbers 212 and 51 appear throughout the comic, referencing the mass protests held against Ahok, and another Qur'an verse forbidding Muslims from being led by other Muslims.
In a statement, Marvel Comics also said that the artwork in X-Men Gold #1 was "inserted without knowledge behind its reported meanings".
"These implied references do not reflect the views of the writer, editors or anyone else at Marvel and are in direct opposition of the inclusiveness of Marvel Comics, and what the X-Men have stood for since their creation," it continued.
"This artwork will be removed from subsequent printings, digital versions, and trade paperbacks and disciplinary action is being taken."
As reported, Mr. Basuki, known as Ahok, was accused of insulting Islam during election campaigning after he cited a verse from the Quran warning Muslims against taking Christians and Jews as allies. At the time, he quipped that due to Indonesia's transition to democracy in 1999, it was perfectly acceptable for Muslim voters to choose a Christian in the election for governor in February.
Ahok, a Christian and a Chinese-Indonesian operating in a Muslim-majority country, has denied the charges, and said his comments were aimed at politicians "incorrectly" using the Koranic verse against him, as reported by The Gospel Herald, and insisted his alleged remarks were not directed at the verse itself.
Nevertheless, his comments sparked outrage among the Muslims community mass protests across Indonesia.
In a Facebook post, Syaf said he inserted the artwork because Ahok "did blasphemy to our holy book" and made light of a Koranic passage that was "special" to him
He added: "I don't hate Jews or Christians, I worked with them for 10 years. A lot of good friends too. For all that happened I apologize sincerely."
BleedingCool notes that this isn't the first time Syaf has drawn in political figures into comic panels; it said in an issue of Batgirl, he featured Joko Widodo, the current president of Indonesia, and the former governor of Jakarta.