Brunei, a small southeast Asian country has made international headlines this week. If you haven’t heard, Brunei has imposed laws that will allow for gay sex to be punishable with death by stoning. YES, you actually read correctly.
These newly implemented Sharia laws were put on hold for around four years due to international outrage and criticism. Yet, the Sultan of Brunei believes that his actions are justified and simply an enactment of “stronger Islamic teachings.”
Capital punishment has long been in existence in the small country, but the truth of the matter is that no actual execution has taken place since 1957. The new laws require a high burden of proof to receive such punishments like a death by stoning (such as a confession or four eye witnesses). Other aspects of the enacted laws also require adulterers to be punished by death, and theft to be punished by cutting off a limb. News outlets are calling Brunei the “Saudi Arabia” of East Asia.
The real fear amongst members of the LGBTQ+ community in Brunei are religious conservatives. The new laws are somewhat of a “green light” for extremists to feel they have the freedom to outright attack gay and queer members of society. As noted in an interview (linked here), one member of the LGBTQ+ community said he was walking down the street when all of a sudden a van tries to follow him and precedes to try and run him over. He says he doesn’t want to hide his identity as a gay man but also hates that being gay publicly means fearing for his own life. It genuinely disgusts me that it’s okay to criminalize sexuality and sexual orientation in 2019.
I can certainly see how despite the enactment of Sharia laws the government seems less then willing to actually act on their laws by stoning their civilians to death, but the problem they have caused could very much be worse. As the LGBTQ+ community in Brunei has mentioned, religious extremists and conservatives committing hate crimes could hurt them even more, with Sharia laws in place who could know if the government will turn a blind eye to the crimes committed against marginalized groups in their nation?
As for the reason why the Sultan legalized such extreme draconian laws, HIS LEGACY.
He is endangering the lives of innocent civilians in his own country, creating international outrage, and dehumanizing queer members of his community, stripping people of basic human and civil rights for what?!?! So his son, the crown prince (who is an unpopular candidate) can take over his throne. Rumors are that liberals who oppose the throne are seemingly more likely to break these new laws in the eyes of the Sultan so all of these laws that were supposedly created to make his nation more faithful, is actually meant to be used to silence his enemies.
Just some advice:
If people don’t like you or your son, maybe don’t start international outrage and boycotts of your businesses.
Maybe, if people don’t like you or your son, don’t let innocent people die for the sake of your legacy.
And that’s the tea for today!
GOODBYE! This is my last post for ShoutOut! as I am a graduating senior. I can’t stress enough the importance of feminism, advocacy, and intersectionality. I’ve learned so much in my short time writing for all of you. I came in ignorant to so many important issues, but I’m leaving much more educated and willing to learn + fix my mistakes. Thanks for helping me grow☺