Sukmawati Soekarnoputri, the daughter of late founding father and Indonesia’s first president Soekarno, conveyed her apology to all Indonesian Muslims over her poem entitled “Ibu Indonesia” (Mother Indonesia), which is alleged to have insulted Islam.
The poem enraged various Muslim groups as parts of the work said the niqab (a full face veil worn by some Muslim women) was not as beautiful as the konde (Indonesian hair bun) and the adzan (call to pray) was not as melodious as traditional ballads.
“Since this literary work has sparked controversy, especially among Muslims, I apologize to all Muslims who feel offended by this poem,” said Sukmawati, who spoke in tears during a press conference in Cikini, Central Jakarta, on Wednesday.
Sukmawati said she had no intention of insulting Islam, asserting that she just wanted to promote the concept of Islam Nusantara as the true Islam in Indonesia.
While insisting that she was a proud Muslim, Sukmawati explained about her father who was an important figure in both Muhammadyah and Nahdlatul Ulama, the two biggest Islamic organizations in Indonesia.
The public uproar began when Sukmawati read out her poem during the celebration of 29 years of the work of Anne Avantie, an Indonesian fashion designer. The event was part of a string of events held during the 2018 Indonesian Fashion Week.
“The fashion show’s theme was ‘Cultural Identity’. The poem was in accordance with the theme,” Sukmawati said. “The words in the poem were a reflection of my artistic point of view.”
Sukmawati said the poem was part of a compilation of poems she published in 2006.