Marvel Comics found itself in the middle of a controversy this past weekend after Islamist and anti-Semitic messages were found hidden in the pages of X-Men Gold #1.
Indonesian artist Ardian Syaf inserted references to a religious conflict taking place in Indonesia, citing a verse that advises Muslims not to trust Christians and Jews.
In a panel of the comic, Colossus can be seen wearing a t-shirt with “QS 5:51″ printed across the chest. QS stands for Qur’an Surah. Surah is the term for a chapter in the Quran.
The verse translates to: “O 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.”
The numbers 212 and 51 also appeared in a scene where Jewish character Kitty Pryde addresses a crowd.
212 refers to a mass protest that happened in Indonesia last year, December 2nd. Muslims protested against Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, the Christian governor of Jakarta, over allegations of blasphemy. The protest demanded the prosecution of Purnama for saying that people should not believe Islamic leaders who claim it forbids Muslims from being led by non-Muslims (referring to the verse Al Maidah 5:51) during his campaign.
You can also see the word Jew (part of “jewelry”) conveniently positioned beside Kitty Pryde’s head.
And then there’s this scene where Nightcrawler, a German Christian character, appears to be striking Kitty Pryde’s face with a baseball bat.
“The mentioned artwork in X-Men Gold No. 1 was inserted without knowledge behind its reported meanings,” Marvel Comics said in a statement.
“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. This artwork will be removed from subsequent printings, digital versions, and trade paperbacks and disciplinary action is being taken.”
While Ardian Syaf remains unapologetic (he even pledged his support to the December 2nd movement in a now-deleted Facebook post), he has posted this message on his Facebook wall earlier today.