What International Criticism of Brunei’s Harsh New Penal Code Overlooks

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

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