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Sukmawati Sukarnoputri, sister of former Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri, has her book shown as she talks to reporters in Jakarta, Indonesia April 4, 2018. (REUTERS/Beawiharta)


Daughter of Indonesia’s founding president faces blasphemy charges after reading poem

By WITW Staff on April 5, 2018

The daughter of Indonesia’s founding president is facing accusations of blasphemy from hardline Islamists after writing a poem that criticized the aesthetic appeal of the call to prayer and the face veil.

Sukmawati Sukarnoputri, the daughter of Indonesia’s first president, Sukarno, had initially declined to apologize for her poem, which she read at a Jarkarta fashion show last week. The poem had drawn outrage from Muslims for lines that said that “Mother Indonesia’s konde saree is very beautiful, prettier than your face veil,” and that “Mother Indonesia’s ballad is so very elegant, more soothing than your azan (an Islamic call to prayer).” In comments made to The Australian, Sukmawati had said she felt justified in expressing her preference for traditional Indonesian culture over more recently imported Islamic traditions.

But after at least four criminal complaints of blasphemy were filed against her — a charge that carries a maximum five-year prison sentence — Sukmawati apologized publicly at a press conference to all Muslims who had felt offended by the poem.

Following the arrest of former Jakarta governor Basuki Tjahaja “Ahok” Purnama last year on blasphemy charges after mass protests led by the 212 movement, a hardline Islamist group, Sukmawati drew the group’s ire by charging 212’s leader, Rizieq Shihab, with insulting her father. Facing several years in prison, Rizieq fled to Saudi Arabia, where he has remained in exile.

Read the full story at The Australian.


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