» 04/22/2014, 00.00
Sultanate of Brunei "postpones" introduction of Sharia
Due to be introduced today the new norms have been postponed until a later date to "due to unavoidable circumstances". Government promises implementation "in the very near future". Experts await return of Sultan from foreign visit, real moral leader and biggest supporter of the "Islamized" Criminal Code.
Begawan (AsiaNews / Agencies) - "Due to
unavoidable circumstances" the Sultanate of Brunei
has delayed its implementation of sharia, or Islamic law, originally timetabled
to enter into force today. Strongly
backed by the Sultan , the norm has been forcefully condemned by the United
Nations and has raised fierce internal debates over the danger of a gradual
" Islamization " of the state. So
far, the government has not indicated exalt when it will be introduced by have
promised it will happen "in the very near future". Experts
explain the Sultan - currently in Singapore - who is considered the real
"moral" leader , is the only person capable of declaring the full
entry into force of the controversial law . However,
the "declaration ceremony" is going
ahead as planned on April 30 to launch the first phase of the new penal code.
In recent months,
the Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah (pictured) has introduced Islamic law (Sharia), for
Muslims including death by stoning for adultery, amputation for thieves,
flogging for other crimes such as abortion and consumption alcohol, the death penalty for
67 year old Sultan said that "with the entry into force of the law",
"our duty to Allah" will be "fulfilled". For
centuries, the same family has held power in the small oil rich kingdom of 400
thousand people; in
office since 1967, aged 21, he has been pushing for the introduction of Islamic
law - and its punishment - in the state since 1996.
Even the local
Catholic leadership has commented recently the introduction of sharia ,
speaking of a "challenge and opportunity" for the community. Bishop
Cornelius Sim , apostolic vicar in the Sultanate, pointed out that, faced with a
gradual "Islamisation" in the last two decades , the Church must show
a "creative" response to overcome "the present challenges".
pressures exerted by political power are subtle but constant, while the local
press - under establishment pressure - never misses an opportunity to talk
about conversions from Christianity to Islam. The
prelate says he remains "serene" even though Christians and minorities are becoming
The Sultanate of Brunei is a small state
located on the island of Borneo, which is also home to parts of Malaysia and
Indonesia. It is a developed country, and one of the richest in the world. Malay
is the official language, but English and Chinese are both widely spoken. About
70% of the population of this nation - which is an absolute monarchy- is
Muslim, around 10 % of the population is atheist, 13 % is Buddhist, and a small
number have indigenous beliefs. Christians, half of whom are Catholic,
constitute 10 % of Brunei's population.
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