May 2019 Church & State Magazine - May 2019

Brunei Adopts Harsh Form Of Islamic Law

  Rob Boston

The tiny southeast Asian country of Brunei has adopted a harsh legal code that calls for stoning to death anyone found guilty of engaging in same-sex relationships, adultery, abortion [or] blasphemy. The code, which also calls for the amputation of limbs for theft, is based on a strict interpretation of the Quran. It went into effect early last month, reported The New York Times.

“Brunei’s new penal code is barbaric to the core, imposing archaic punishments for acts that shouldn’t even be crimes,” Phil Robertson, the deputy Asia director of Human Rights Watch, said in a statement.

Brunei, a monarchy, has fewer than half a million residents and is ruled by Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, who has been moving to implement a severe form of Islamic law since 2013. The country is majority Muslim.

The announcement of the new penalties led to an outcry from human-rights activists, celebrities and others. But officials in Brunei said they would not be deterred. The government issued a statement saying that Brunei “is a sovereign Islamic and fully independent country and, like all other independent countries, enforces its own rule of laws.”

BREAKING NEWS

Americans United & the National Women’s Law Center file suit to challenge Missouri’s abortion bans.

Abortion bans violate the separation of church and state. Americans United and the National Women’s Law Center—the leading experts in religious freedom and gender justice—have joined forces with thirteen clergy from six faith traditions to challenge Missouri’s abortion bans as unconstitutionally imposing one narrow religious doctrine on everyone.


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