04/05/2018, 16.33
INDONESIA
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Sukarno's daughter accused of blasphemy

by Mathias Hariyadi

For Sukmawati Soekarnoputri, the konde is more beautiful than the hijab. She also compared sharia to the way hairdressers tightly roll hair. Despite her apology, radical groups still plan to take her to court.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) – Sukmawati Soekarnoputri (pictured), daughter of Indonesia’s first president Sukarno and younger sister of former President Megawati Soekarnoputri, has been accused of insulting Islam at a fashion show.

After the Ahok case, another political leader in President Widodo's party, who is involved in a battle against the rise of extremist movements in the country, has come in for harsh criticism from Islamic radicals.

Two days ago, Sukmawati as she is affectionately called, took part in a fashion show whose theme was cultural identity, organised for Anne Avantie’s 29 years in business. The latter is an ethnic Chinese fashion designer.

During the event, the daughter of the founder of the nation, recited a poem titled ‘Ibu Indonesia’, Mother of Indonesia, that landed her in trouble.

The poem is part of a 2006 collection. In it Sukmawati Soekarnoputri compares Sharia to the konde, which is how hairdressers roll women's hair.

Sukmawati said that despite her lack of knowledge of Sharia, she believed that the konde was much more beautiful than hijab, the Islamic veil.

The following day Islamist groups filed a complained against her, including the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI).

Last year, the FPI had accused the then Jakarta governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama of blasphemy. This embroiled the ethnic Chinese Christian in a controversy that caused mass demonstrations and led to his ouster, trial and prison sentence, which for many was unfair and politically motivated.

At a press conference yesterday, Sukmawati apologised for reading the poem, which according to critics seemed to favour traditional Indonesian culture and beliefs over conservative Islamic customs such as the veil.

For her, the poem reflects her concern for the country and was meant to honour its rich cultural traditions and diversity.

She apologised to Indonesian Muslims if they offended them with the poem. Yet, despite this, the radical groups still plan to take her to court.

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