Bruneian Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah delivers a speech in Singapore, July 5, 2017 (AP photo by Wong Maye-E).

Last month, Brunei implemented part of a harsh new criminal code based on Islamic law that stipulates, among other things, a potential sentence of death by stoning for those convicted of gay sex and adultery. The move drew swift condemnation from LGBT rights groups as well as the broader international community, with some prominent celebrities like George Clooney and Ellen DeGeneres calling for a boycott of certain Brunei-owned businesses. But according to Dominik Müller, an expert on Islam in Southeast Asia at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle, Germany, important aspects of the legal and social reality […]

Protesters wear yellow vests as they denounce Khalifa Haftar’s military offensive, Tripoli, Libya, April 19, 2019 (AP photo by Hazem Ahmed).

When Khalifa Haftar, the leader of the self-declared Libyan National Army, released an audio message announcing his offensive on Libya’s capital, Tripoli, on April 4, he likely expected things to go very differently. Despite being the centerpiece of a United Nations political process that his international backers—primarily France, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt—had essentially hijacked to provide him a diplomatic route to uncontested power in Libya, Haftar used the assault on Tripoli to send a clear message that he rejected even the semblance of diplomacy and power-sharing. After all, it began on the same day that U.N. Secretary-General Antonio […]

Devotees wait to worship at the Sabarimala temple, one of the world’s largest Hindu pilgrimage sites, in Kerala state, India, Nov. 5, 2018 (AP photo by Manish Swarup).

Narendra Modi has been associated with Hindu nationalism, or the notion that India is for Hindus first and foremost, since long before he became prime minister in 2014. Nevertheless, the manifestations of Hindu nationalism on display during his first term have alarmed his critics. They include controversial proposals to place new restrictions on citizenship as well as “cow protection” gangs, vigilantes who have killed dozens of people as part of a violent campaign against the trade and consumption of cattle. Modi’s government, and Modi himself, have taken pains not to explicitly champion a “Hindu first” agenda, yet the government’s policies […]

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