Brunei has ignored a chorus of international pleas and imposed Sharia law on the 416,000 people who live in the tiny, oil-rich country, which has been ruled by an absolute monarch, Hassanal Bolkiah, for almost half a century.
Bolkiah had attempted to justify the introduction of the strict Islamic penal code, arguing it was a type of special assistance from God to protect his Sultanate from outside, decadent influences, commonly found on the Internet.
“It is because of our need that Allah the Almighty, in all his generosity, has created laws for us, so that we can utilise them to obtain justice,” he said. He also recalled the long gone days of the Divine Right of Kings, when he said that God himself “has said this law is indeed fair.”
Stiff penalties, normally associated with countries like Afghanistan or Pakistan, that include stoning to death, floggings and the amputation of limbs are to be introduced for theft, adultery and gay relationships. Sodomy, along with blasphemy, drinking alcohol and pregnancy outside of marriage are also illegal. Penalties can be imposed on people who were under the age of 18 when a Sharia crime was committed.