The West is progressing, leaving countries like Brunei back in the Stone Age



Shannon Persaud

The tiny, oil-rich country of Brunei has a little over 450,000 people. Located on the island of Borneo, it is close close to moderate Islamic nations of Indonesia and Malaysia. The country very recently enacted a new law which comes into effect from next week will punish homosexual sex and adultery with death. Lesbian acts will now be punishable by 10 years and imprisonment and being struck with a cane. Beginning on April 3, any persons found guilty of the offenses will be stoned to death, according to a new penal code. The punishment will be “witnessed by a group of Muslims.”
Now this is not the first extreme act from the government, there was a broad international opposition when in 2014 Brunei became the first country in the region to adopt Sharia law, an Islamic legal system which outlines strict corporal punishments.With more international from countries and celebrities pressure coming in, the country has not indicated that they are backing down.
Brunei’s Prime Minister says the country has “always been practicing a dual legal system, one that is based on the Syariah (Shariah) Law and the other on Common Law.”
The purpose of the new legislation is said to “maintain peace and order and preserve religion, life, family and individuals regardless of gender, nationality, race and faith.”
Many people are wondering why these laws are being implemented now. There are several theories, but Matthew Woolfe, founder of human rights group The Brunei Project, said it could be linked to Brunei’s abismal economy.
“One theory is that it is a way for the government to strengthen its hold on power in the face of a declining economy that could potentially lead to some unrest in future,” Woolfe told the BBC.
“Connected to this is [Brunei’s] interest in attracting more investment from the Muslim world, along with more Islamic tourists… this could be seen as one way of appealing to this market.”
While before the new laws homosexuality and adultery came with a 10 year prison sentence, the escalation of the harsh punishments doled out by the government in Brunei does not seem to bother the majority Muslim population.