Thursday, May 1, 2014
Brunei has become the first East Asian country to adopt sharia law, despite widespread condemnation from international human rights groups
The Islamic criminal law is set to include punishments such as flogging, dismemberment and death by stoning for crimes such as rape, adultery and sodomy. The religious laws will operate alongside the existing civil penal code. Most parts of the new Islamic code will apply to both Muslims and non-Muslims, affecting people from the Christian and Buddhist communities. Around 70% of people in Brunei are Malay Muslims, while the remainder of the population are of Chinese or other ethnic descent. The Sultan, who is also the Prime Minister, first announced the law in October 2013. As per its provisions, sexual offenses such as rape, adultery and sodomy will be considered punishable acts for Muslims. Consensual sex between homosexuals will also be criminalized, with death by stoning the prescribed punishment.