Moral Low Ground


Brunei’s Islamic Penal Code Now Punishes Gays, Adulterers with Death by Stoning

Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah

Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah

The tiny, oil-rich southeast Asian nation of Brunei has implemented a harsh new Islamic penal code that punishes a range of “crimes” with execution, including death by stoning for individuals who engage in gay sex acts.

Brunei’s revised penal code, which is set to go into effect on April 22, prescribes the death penalty as punishment for a wide range of crimes and other actions, many of which are protected freedoms in the West.

According to the United Nations, murder, rape, adultery, sodomy, extramarital sexual relations for Muslims, insulting any part of the Islamic holy texts or the Islamic “prophet” Mohammed, blasphemy, declaring oneself a “prophet,” and renouncing Islam will all be punishable by death staring next week.

For those convicted of rape, as well as the “crimes” of adultery, extramarital sex and gay sex, death by stoning is prescribed under the new penal code.

Male homosexuality is strictly forbidden under Islam, with Sharia, or Islamic law, establishing that gay sex is a vile form of fornication punishable by death. The Koran does not specifically call for the stoning of gays, but the Hadith, the collection of sayings attributed to the “prophet” Mohammed, states that “if a man who is not married is seized committing sodomy, he will be stoned to death.”

The UN has strongly condemned the new penal code.

“Application of the death penalty for such a broad range of offenses contravenes international law,” said Rupert Colville of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). “We urge [Brunei’s] government to delay the entry into force of the revised penal code and to conduct a comprehensive review ensuring its compliance with international human rights standards.”

Colville added that the criminalization and application of capital punishment for sex acts between consenting adults violates numerous human rights, including the right to privacy and equal treatment before the law.

While 76 nations have passed laws banning gay sex, six countries, all of them Muslim– Iran, Saudi Arabia, Mauritania, Sudan, Yemen and now Brunei– punish gays with execution. Northern Nigeria and parts of Somalia, both also controlled by Muslims, also execute gays.

Brunei is an oil-rich Islamic absolute monarchy ruled by Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah since 1967. It has not carried out any executions since 1957, the Times of India reported.

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