Brunei Stoning

Caitlyn Amsden, Staff Writer

Brunei is a small country with about 450,000 citizens. It is located on the island of Borneo. It is in southeastern Asia and borders the South China Sea and Malaysia. The leader of Brunei is Hassanal Bolkiah, who acts as the prime minister. What is happening in Brunei seems like a blast from the past. The Brunei government is enacting strict new Islamic laws that require gay sex and adultery to be punishable by stoning to death. There are other punishments that include 100 lashes given to two women who have intercourse. These new laws were set in place on Wednesday April 3rd, 2019.  These laws also include amputation for those who commit the crime of stealing. For the first offense, thieves get their right hand amputated and for the second offense their left foot is amputated. Another extension to the law is citizens are not allowed to dress as the opposite gender. If they do, their punishment would be imprisonment. All these laws are based on the Sharia Law. The Sharia Law is a religious law that forms part of the Islamic tradition. These laws are also targeting children and foreigners even if they are not part of the Muslim religion. A 23-year-old citizen that is part of the LGBTQ community from Brunei said, “”Living in Brunei, we already knew that our sexual identity is taboo and should not be expressed. We already felt belittled before the law came to place. Now with it, we feel even smaller and the ones who could potentially oppress us have more opportunity to harass us to say and do what they want.” The citizens that belong to the country feel so small and are so afraid of the authority figures. For example, the citizen who gave the quote didn’t give out his/her name out of fear of the government and being punished. On the other hand, the leader, Hassanal Bolkiah, was quoted on the country’s government website for saying that his government “does not expect other people to accept and agree with it, but that it would suffice if they just respect the nation in the same way that it also respects them.” Brunei’s small underground LGBT community has expressed shock and dismay over Brunei’s plan and so has parts of the world. The United States joined the United Kingdom, Germany and France in urging Brunei to halt its plans. However, there is no further information about that. Also, celebrities including George Clooney, Elton John and Ellen DeGeneres have voiced opposition to the new laws. They have rallied a boycott of nine hotels in the U.S. and Europe with ties to Hassanal. When asked about if they were aware that this was happening, Ms. Schnurr and student, Seth Kerrigan both replied with an answer of not knowing. When asked his opinion on this issue Seth Kerrigan replied with, “It’s an issue that has to be talked about a lot more.” From another view point, Ms. Schnurr stated, “I find it horrible that people in our world are killing other people based on who they love. We as a nation should step in.” People all around the world have their opinions on what to do or not to do about this situation. Right now, it is a very controversial topic that is being debated about around the world.