The Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace, in southeast Asia has become the latest nation to officially incorporate Sharia Law. Some of the penalties for some crimes seem excessive to those of us in the western world.
Based on individual cases, punishments could include stoning to death for adultery, severing of limbs for theft, and flogging for violations ranging from abortion to alcohol consumption, according to a copy of the code.
According to Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, the law will only apply to the 70% of Brunei’s people who are Muslim. However, in many countries, strict interpretation of blasphemy and apostasy laws have led to the imprisonment or death of non-Muslims, or those who have left the faith. In many cases, the violence is instigated by citizens with the government being complicit.
Brunei joins an increasingly long list of nations that have some form of Sharia Law implemented.
Nations that include some level of Sharia (lenient sentences for honour killings, ban on new churches, floggings, etc):
1. Indonesia (Flogging, Caning; Sharia applied strictly in Aceh province)
2. Turkey (Restrictions on alcohol)
3. Brunei (Caning, Alcohol is illegal)
4. Jordan (2 years or less for honour killings)
5. Eritrea (Girls as young as 8 can be married, spousal rape is not recognized)
6. Syria (1 year or less for honour killings)
7. Djibouti (Sharia law regarding divorce)
8. Chechnya (Modest dress enforced, Alcohol and gambling suppressed by local authorities)
9. Niger (girls can be married off before they reach puberty)
10. Nigeria (Sharia is enforced in the northern states)
11. Kenya (Ad Hoc Sharia enforced in the east near the border with Somalia)
12. Gambia (Sharia courts decide all family matters, including for non-Muslims)
13. Qatar (public consumption is illegal during Ramadan, Alcohol heavily restricted, blood money acceptable punishment for murder, “kafala” law which is also shared by all Gulf states but Bahrain is technically slavery)
14. Uganda (Kadhi Courts overseeing family and civil matters)
Imprisonment for Blasphemy:
12. United Arab Emirates
Death for Blasphemy:
8. Saudi Arabia
In many countries, such as Canada, some parts of Sharia Law, such as polygamy, are practised while law enforcement turns the other way.
In the UK, an organization called One Law for All is campaigning to protect children from forced marriages and the anti-blasphemy laws and regulation that are creeping in disguised as anti-harassment laws. The Council of Ex Muslims assists those who have left the religion and are struggling with the consequences.
Islam is composed of a number of sects, and the majority eschew such a strict interpretation of the law. Unfortunately, these are the groups that receive the least of the publicity, and increasingly, the extremists are gaining control in many areas.