The small Asian country of Brunei recently approved measures to label homosexuality a “crime” punishable by stoning and whipping — a push to more closely adhere to Sharia law.
While politicians and activists in the U.S. are preoccupied with the personal Christian beliefs of the CEO of Chick-fil-A, gay people in Brunei are now facing very real and fatal consequences for their lifestyles, according to a report from The Independent.
If that doesn’t put this issue into perspective, I’m not sure what will.
Homosexuality was already illegal in Brunei, which has a population of 450,565 people. Most citizens — 78.8 percent — identify as Muslim. Conversely, 8.7 percent identify as Christian and 7.8 percent identify as Buddhist, according to data collected by the CIA.
Brunei is helmed by an absolute monarchy, Sultan and Prime Minister Sir Hassanal Bolkiah, who has ruled the country since 1967.
The London-based human rights watchdog Amnesty International labeled the new measures “vicious” and demanded Brunei’s leaders “halt” their plans to impose the Sharia law-backed punishments.
“The international community must urgently condemn Brunei’s move to put these cruel penalties into practice,” said Rachel Chhoa-Howard, who serves as the Brunei researcher for Amnesty International.
The push in Brunei for stricter alignment to Sharia law comes about a month after President Donald Trump’s administration announced a global campaign to decriminalize homosexuality in countries where it is still illegal. The campaign will be led by U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, the highest ranking openly gay official in the Trump administration.
Following the announcement of the international effort, an unnamed U.S. official said, “It is concerning that, in the 21st century, some 70 countries continue to have laws that criminalize LGBT status or conduct.”