The controversy is largely based on Syaf placing a reference to a controversial verse from the Quran on Colossus’s shirt in a panel from X-Men Gold #1 that some, in particular to readers in Syaf’s home country of Indonesia, feel carries an anti-Semitic and anti-Christian message.
Wilson, who is a Muslim, took to her website to write a post clarifying what the verse in question really means. Be warned that Wilson used some colorful language in her explanation:
“This verse is subject to a truly fantastical amount of bullshittery in the modern era. And that bullshittery takes on a particular flavor depending on the agenda of whoever is translating the verse. Keep in mind that 75% of Muslims are non-native speakers of Arabic (I’m one of them), and of that 75%, most know a few phrases of Arabic at most; just enough to be able to perform the five daily prayers, plus some tangentially related religious terminology (I know a bit more). To put it more simply, the vast majority of Muslims around the world do not read the Quran in the original Arabic. They read an interpretation rendered into their local language. And this is where the bullshittery starts.
The meaning of a holy text becoming lost or altered in translation is a problem that many world religions face. Another example would be that most Christians cannot read the Bible in its original Biblical Hebrew or Biblical Aramaic, and there exist several different modern translations.
“Apparently, the Indonesian translation of 5:51 reads something like this: “Oh you who believe, take not the Jews and the Christians as leaders/advisors.” (I don’t speak or read Indonesian, so I am going off the explanations of others and stuff I have been able to find online.) The reason Syaf referenced this verse is because (apparently) he has been protesting a Christian governor in his province; a governor who has been accused of blasphemy and/or corruption and/or making fun of this particular verse of the Quran, depending on who you ask.”
Wilson goes into more detail on the how the word actually has a very specific meaning from a particular point in history and really means none of the things that Syaf’s cause or most other causes claim it does. The entire post is educational and absolutely worth a read.
In conclusion, Wilson squarely denounces Syaf and whatever he was trying to achieve.
This is all to say that Ardian Syaf can keep his garbage philosophy. He has committed career suicide; he will rapidly become irrelevant. But his nonsense will continue to affect the scant handful of Muslims who have managed to carve out careers in comics. From what I can deduce off of Facebook, it appears he is trying to claim the Charlie Hebdo defense…ie, he doesn’t mean anything by it; we just don’t understand the nuance and subtly of the local bigotry. Much good may it do him. Goodbye, Ardian Syaf. We hardly knew ye, which is just as well.
Yesterday, Marvel Comics released a statement in response the controversy surrounding X-Men: Gold #1. In the statement, the publisher said that disciplinary action was being taken against Syaf, but offered no further details.
More X-Men Gold: Review / Marc Guggenheim Interview / X-Men Gold Introduces New Brotherhood Of Evil Mutants