Brunei’s sultan is stuck in the early 1900’s

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Hassanal Bolkiah, the Sultan of Brunei has implemented a new law targeting the LGBTQ+ community and it is time for the rest of the world to step in.

Bolkiah has been in office for over 52 years, and is the first prime minister of Brunei.

In 2004, Bolkiah tried to implement a similar law that made adultery illegal and punishable. He had sent a letter to EU, and Brunei received a lot of backlash from the public. He also did the same thing in 2014, again, was declined.

He had an odd response to the backlash. Saying it was placed to educate, and it was only placed for prevention rather than a punishment. No one took him seriously, except for his few supporters in Brunei.

The nation of Brunei addressed a letter to the European Union last week, asking for “tolerance” and “understanding” of their new Sharia Law penal code, which includes violent punishment for adultery, theft, and homosexual behavior.

In the document, Brunei defended its new Sharia criminal law implementation, insisting that the punishment of “hadd,” or stoning to death and amputation for offenses such as sodomy and theft, is permissible because it comes directly from Allah.

The united nations very quickly declined all of the punished saying they were a violation to human rights.

As homosexuality has been illegal for a very long time in that country, Bolkiah is hoping to mostly banish it from the country, which is extremely upsetting.

The LGBTQ+ is trying to make as much noise as possible to bring attention to this issue, but it still doesn’t seem like enough.  The impact that this law will put on people’s lives and well being is extreme, and it seems as if the Sultan couldn’t care less.

Because of the amount of power he holds, and his wealth, it will take more than just The United Nations saying no. The shunning towards the LGBTQ+ community will not end until Bolkiah’s homophobia does.

“Brunei has been practicing hedge diplomacy in its foreign policy,” says Mustafa Izzuddin, a fellow at Singapore’s ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute. “However, the greater the criticism from Western countries – including resorting to boycotts – the more likely Brunei will turn to Asia and in particular, China, which has cleverly stayed clear of Brunei’s domestic affairs.”

It is 2019, and as a society who believes in love and equality, it is time that we do not tolerate this kind of hate and homophobia coming from a world leader. We must speak our minds, and protect those without a voice, or those who needs to be louder.

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