Daily Beast headline envy: Brunei Returns to the Stoning Age (N.b. not “Stoner Age,” which would mean death penalties all around)
The tiny oil-rich sultanate in East Asia just introduced some pretty harsh punishments for skipping prayer, getting pregnant out of wedlock and behaving “indecently,” whatever that means. The worst news? This is just the beginning.
A second phase of the law, set to be introduced this year or next, aims to punish sodomy and adultery with death by stoning. Theft and robbery will literally cost you an arm and a leg. Or at least a hand.
Sorry to be a downer, but Brunei isn’t alone. Death by stoning and other torturous and inhumane Shariah punishments are still legal and common in places like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. That’s been true for a long time. For Brunei to look at those countries as role models and apply Shariah law to its Muslim and substantial non-Muslim population is utterly appalling.
The United Nations condemned Brunei’s government last month when the sultan announced plans to introduce these new laws. Such condemnation is important, but not wildly effective. I’m more excited to see influential groups and big-name celebrities taking action in a language the billionaire sultan Hassanal Bolkiah will understand: $$$.
Bolkiah basically owns Brunei, which owns the Beverly Hills Hotel, where revelries would surely spell nightly floggings and stonings if it were under the country’s jurisdiction. The Feminist Majority Foundation was supposed to hold its annual Global Women’s Rights Awards there next Monday. Realizing the ridiculousness that’s unfolded, they’ve relocated the gig and plan hold a rally across the street instead.
Ellen Degeneres and Stephen Fry have also vowed to boycott the hotel and its government-owned sister sites, all under the Dorchester Collection brand. I’d do the same, but considering a night in one of those hotels is probably on par with what I make in a year, it’s kind of a moot point.