» 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.
06/12/2013 PAKISTAN - ISLAM
Sharia court rules blasphemers can only be punished with death penalty
The Federal Sharia Court accepts lawyer's petition claiming that the death penalty, not life in prison, is the only punishment in blasphemy cases. Under Nawaz Sharif, it is "dark times" for minorities. For many activists and NGOs, Islamisation progresses in the country. Paul Bhatti notes that poverty must be the "priority" through "employment and investment to boost development."
06/05/2014 BRUNEI - ISLAM
Celebrities and business leaders come out against Brunei sultan's decision to introduce Sharia
Virgin Group founder and owner Richard Branson decides to boycott a hotel chain linked to the sultanate. Human rights groups and associations take aim at the implementation of Islamic law, which is increasingly threatening the religious freedom of non-Muslims.
29/01/2014 BRUNEI - ISLAM
Apostolic Vicar: Sharia as a challenge and opportunity for Catholics in Brunei
Mgr Cornelius Sim calls for a "creative" response to the Sultanate's growing Islamisation. In April, Sharia law will come into force and some inhabitants are afraid of becoming "second class citizens", which is why they are not excluding the possibility of emigration. However, the prelate is unruffled, confident about the future of the Church.
Church in Brunei, a young and "missionary” reality
The Apostolic Vicar Msgr. Cornelius Sim tells of a really small, but " prosperous and lively” reality . The prelate thanked the community of Filipino immigrants who make the life of the Church "active", and his hopes for "new vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life”. To date, together with Bishop there are only three priests to care for 20 thousand people.
Muslims torture for hours Christian “blasphemer” now in jail
A mob of some 150 Muslims in Punjab stormed the home of Amanat Masih, a Protestant charged with burning some pages of the Qur’an. Police intervene after hours of torture and arrest him.
Pope tells young people to remember the past, to have courage in the present and hope for the future
The Message for the 32nd World Youth Day was issued today centred on “The ‘great things’ that the Almighty accomplished’.” In her meeting with Elizabeth, Mary becomes a model. The pontiff calls on young people to avoid being couch potatoes, safe and cosy, urges them to rediscover the relationship with seniors. The Church experience is not a flash mob. The future should be experienced in a constructive way, and “the institutions of marriage, consecrated life and priestly mission” should not be devalued.
AsiaNews IS ALSO A MONTHLY!
AsiaNews monthly magazine (in Italian) is free.