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Brunei to implement harsh Shariah penal code comment (0)

October 31, 2013

Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei — The sultan of Brunei announced Oct. 22 he will rule his oil-rich Islamic country according to Shariah laws. This includes punishments such as death by stoning for adultery, the amputation of limbs for theft and flogging for alcohol consumption and abortion.

The laws and punishments apply only to the Sunni Muslim majority in the Southeast Asian country. Brunei is on the northwest edge of Borneo island, which also is part of Indonesia and Malaysia in the South China Sea.

The Shariah penal code will begin in phases starting in April 2014, said Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, according to Agence France-Presse.

The sultan, who also is prime minister, has ruled since 1967. There are no elections. 

Up until now, he enforced a dual judicial system of British secular laws, and Shariah courts mainly for family matters.

Brunei’s population is 67 percent Muslim and ethnic Malay, governed under a constitutional sultanate officially called the Malay Islamic Monarchy.

“The Compulsory Religious Education Order of 2012 mandates that all Muslim children aged 7 to 15 residing in the country must be enrolled in Islamic religious education,” said the U.S. State Department’s 2012 International Religious Freedom Report.

“The government routinely censored magazine articles on other faiths, blacking out or removing photographs of crucifixes and other Christian religious symbols,” the State Department said. There were “no depictions of other religions’ practices” in school textbooks.

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