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So wrong to see Brunei's anti-gay laws as an exception to the rule

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14.04.2019

It’s a safe bet the extravagantly wealthy Sultan of Borneo, Hassanal Bolkiah, doesn’t give a straw about the international outrage over his implementation of sharia law, much less the stoning to death of homosexuals, which was fully implemented in his nation last week, the grand finale of a five-year roll out.

Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah has introduced the penalty of death by stoning for sex between people of the same gender. Credit:EPA

The eye-watering hypocrisy and profligate spending of his family was revealed in an investigation by 60 Minutes three years ago, in which a senior Brunei cleric tells us why the royal family is exempt from sharia. Only if the boycotts of Bolkiah’s raft of luxury hotels like the Dorchester in London and the Beverly Hills Hotel in LA, led by celebrities like George Clooney and Elton John, are sustained and devastating to his business, is it likely Bolkiah will give pause to reconsider.

For the cruel truth is that Bolkiah, 72, has been shifting Borneo towards a more conservative brand of Islam for decades. That’s why outrage on Twitter or change.org petitions or condemnation from Australia's Prime Minister are unlikely to accomplish much.

It would be wrong to see Borneo, a small country of 400,00 people, as some kind of homophobic exception in a world of rising tolerance........

© Brisbane Times