A Muslim comic book artist has apologized after drawing backlash for the hidden messages he encoded in his artwork for an "X-Men: Gold" issue, which many readers saw as anti-Christian and anti-Semitic.
In a statement posted on Facebook on Monday, Marvel comic book artist Ardian Syaf asked for the debates over his controversial art to stop. He also apologized for all the ruckus that he raised for the alleged anti-Christian and anti-Semitic messages encoded in the "X-Men: Gold" issue, Entertainment Weekly relays.
"Hello, Worlds... My career is over now. It's the consequence what I did, and I take it," Syaf said on Facebook. "Please no more mockery, debat, no more hate. I hope all in peace."
In addition, Syaf attempted to explain the numbers which readers said referred to the ongoing religious and political tensions in his home country, Indonesia. The numbers 212 and QS 5:51 encoded in his artwork apparently alluded to hardline Muslims protesting against Christian governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, who was reportedly charged with blasphemy.
"It is number of JUSTICE. It is number of LOVE. My love to Holy Qur'an ... my love to the last prophet, the Messenger ... my love to ALLAH, The One God," Syaf continued on Facebook. "My apologize [sic] for all the noise. Good bye, May God bless you all. I love all of you."
In response to the criticisms it received over Syaf's alleged anti-Christian and anti-Semitic artworks, Marvel issued a statement to ComicBook.com explaining that the management had no knowledge about the alleged meanings of the numbers. The company also promised to remove the artwork from the next versions of "X-Men: Gold" and to take disciplinary measures.
Meanwhile, Newsarama reports that Syaf has been fired for what he did in the first issue of "X-Men: Gold." The comic book publisher said the termination was effective immediately.
Moreover, the publisher also reportedly said artist Ken Lashley will replace Syaf in the subsequent "X-Men: Gold" issues. The company also revealed that it will assign a permanent artist for the comics in the next few weeks.