30 April 2014
The sultan of oil-rich Brunei announced that tough Islamic criminal punishments would be introduced Thursday, pushing ahead with plans that have sparked rare domestic criticism of the fabulously wealthy ruler and international condemnation.
“With faith and gratitude to Allah the almighty, I declare that tomorrow, Thursday May 1, 2014, will see the enforcement of sharia law phase one, to be followed by the other phases,” the absolute monarch said in a royal decree Wednesday.
Plans for the sharia penalties — which will eventually include flogging, severing of limbs and death by stoning — triggered condemnation on social media sites in the tiny, sleepy sultanate earlier this year.
… The move could indicate the sultan is becoming more conservative as he ages, said Joseph Chinyong Liow, a Singapore-based professor of Muslim politics.
“The sultan himself is at a point where there is a need to come to terms with religious identity, both personally and for the country,” he said.
Liow said the sultan may have viewed sharia as a popular step, as support grows among some Muslims in Southeast Asia for a post-colonial return to Islamic roots, especially in the face of Western influences.
RSIS / Online
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