Brunei passes harsh anti-LGBTQ+ laws

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Brunei Sultan Bolkiah (left) pictured with Russian President Putin (right) at a summit in 2016. The Sultan has many connections to politicians and families of power, and is the one responsible for the new laws.

Photo credit to the Kremlin

Brunei Sultan Bolkiah (left) pictured with Russian President Putin (right) at a summit in 2016. The Sultan has many connections to politicians and families of power, and is the one responsible for the new laws.

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For the past few weeks, a tiny Asian country has gathered people’s attention due to a controversial new law. The independent Islamic country is Brunei, and has been amid controversy for implementing a few new laws that are being considered barbaric.

The main law that has many people disturbed allows police to legally stone gay men and women to death if caught having sex. Other laws also put into effect include stoning for adultery, abortion and sodomy or cutting off limbs if caught stealing.

These extreme forms of punishment for acts that aren’t considered crimes in most other countries are based on the Quran and other Islamic writings that have been interpreted into law by the Sultan and his advisors. Brunei’s monarch, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, is the country’s prime minister, defense minister, finance minister, foreign minister as well as an Islamic interpreter and enforcer of their rules.

Many WJ students, including sophomore KoKo Bond-Razak, are disturbed by these new laws.

“I think these laws are appalling and it’s alarming that there are nations that aren’t advancing when it comes to social issues like gay marriage,” Bond-Razak said.

The news laws have been seen as discrimination against LGBTQ+ citizens of Brunei, which seems like a step backwards from any advancements made in other countries for gay rights.

“To us it seems pretty obvious that any developed country shouldn’t have any laws that discriminate against any groups, but it shows that they aren’t as open or socially advanced as our country,” sophomore Danielle Nevett said.

The Sultan’s office made a statement defending their actions, claiming their intention is to discourage citizens from performing acts that are against the teachings of Islam. Despite these claims, people still don’t see religion as an excuse for what is considered an act of homophobia.

“This law is ridiculous because people should be able to express their sexuality and who they are without fear of punishment,” sophomore Elana Renbaum said.

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