Sultan of Brunei Declares Sharia Law
- In March 2006, the Sultan amended the constitution to make himself infallible under Bruneian law.
- The Sultan's official residence is the Istana Nurul Iman, with 1,888 rooms, 290 bathrooms, and a floor area of 2,152,782 square feet (200,000 m2), a banquet hall that can be expanded to accommodate up to 5,000 guests, a mosque accommodating 1,500 people. The palace also includes a 110-car garage, an air conditioned stable for the Sultan's 200 polo ponies, and 5 swimming pools. No wonder there are revolutions against kings.
The sultan of Brunei announced Tuesday that Shariah law will now dictate how certain crimes are penalized — and that means thieves will lose limbs and adulterers will be stoned to death.
Those convicted of drinking alcohol or committing other violations – such as abortion – could be flogged.
Brunei is about Muslim 67%, Buddhist 13%, Christian 10%, indigenous beliefs and non-religious, Atheist or Agnostic 10%
Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah – who is thought to be worth about $20bn (£12.3bn) and exercises tight control over the Muslim-majority country – described the legislation as "part of the great history of our nation" and a form of "special guidance" from God reports the UK Guardian.
"It is because of our need that Allah the Almighty, in all his generosity, has created laws for us, so that we can utilize them to obtain justice," the 67-year-old was quoted as saying in local media.
|Chop a hand for Allah.|
The oil-rich sultanate already forbids the sale of alcohol and bans the evangelism of religions other than Islam.
It is known for practising a more conservative form of Islam than its majority-Muslim neighbour Malaysia.
While sharia law already exists within the small south-east Asian nation – which is home to roughly 406,000 people, two-thirds of whom are Muslim – the Islamic court has, to date, primarily handled family-related affairs like marriage and inheritance.
The new penal code will be enforced in phases, local media reported, and will apply only to Muslims.
However, visitors to the Brunei could be flogged under existing secular laws for crimes including immigration offences. Caning is also used as punishment in Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore.
Many in the country seem to welcome the new legislation, with many taking to social media to write "long live the sultan" and "praise be to Allah". Human rights activists denounced the move as "feudal" and "abhorrent".
Brunei's leading Islamic scholar described the sharia code as "guarantee[d] justice for everyone".
Mufti Awang Abdul Aziz told a legal conference on Tuesday: "Let us not just look at the hand-cutting or the stoning or the caning per se. It is not indiscriminate cutting or stoning or caning. There are conditions and there are methods that are just and fair."
"Do all potential tourists to Brunei plan to steal? If they do not, then what do they need to fear? Believe me when I say that with our sharia criminal law, everyone – including tourists – will receive proper protection," he said.
The sultan – who has reigned since 1967 and lives in an 1,800-room palace – also implied that those outside Brunei would do better not to judge the adoption of the new code.
"We view others … without any form of prejudice," he said. "In return, we also have the right to expect that others will view Brunei in the same light."
Invited Guests Entered The Main Gate Of The Nurul Iman Palace To Enjoy A Dinner