June 17, 2024 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

The Owner of Two Luxury L.A. Hotels is the Sultan of a Country that Now Stones Homosexuals to Death

Brunei implemented Sharia Law this week, making sodomy and adultery punishable by death.

Strict homophobic Islamic laws went into effect in the country of Brunei on Wednesday, making anal sex and adultery punishable by stoning to death.

The new laws also cover a range of other crimes, including punishment for theft by amputation, leaving Brunei’s LGBTQ+ community and others in shock. 

“You wake up and realize that your neighbors, your family or even that nice old lady that sells prawn fritters by the side of the road doesn’t think you’re human, or is okay with stoning,” said a gay Bruneian man, who did not want to be identified, according to the BBC.

Photo: Facebook. Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah.

Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah wants stronger Islamic teachings for the small South-East Asian nation. 

“I want to see Islamic teachings in this country grow stronger,” Bolkiah said in a public address.

Bolkiah heads the Brunei Investment Agency, which owns the Dorchester Collection – an operator of some of the world’s top hotels including the Hotel Bel-Air and the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles. Celebrities, such as George Clooney and Ellen DeGeneres, are calling for a boycott of the luxury hotels. 

“These abusive provisions received widespread condemnation when plans were first discussed five years ago,” Rachel Chhoa-Howard, a Brunei researcher at Amnesty International, said.

“Brunei’s penal code is a deeply flawed piece of legislation containing a range of provisions that violate human rights.”

Homosexuality was already illegal in Brunei and punishable by up to 10 years in prison.The country first introduced Sharia law in 2014, despite widespread condemnation, giving it a dual legal system with both Sharia and Common Law. Bolkiah had said then that the new penal code would be implemented on a rolling basis over several years.

The first phase, which covered crimes punishable by prison sentences and fines, was implemented in 2014. 

Muslims make up about two-thirds of the country’s population of 420,000. Brunei has retained the death penalty but has not carried out an execution since 1957. The new law mostly applies to Muslims, including children who have reached puberty, though some aspects will apply to non-Muslims.

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