Strict Moral Code and Brutal Punishment for all of You. But I'm excused.

The National Post recently tells me about an individual whose name is Hassanal Bolkian.

His claim to fame is that he is the Sultan of Brunei. Brunei, I discover, is a very small country on the coast of Borneo. There are considerable writings found on a Google search of the Sultan of Brunei.

Mostly from an article by a Chico Hines, I harvested the following snippets of info:

Last year, The Sultan announced that Sharia (Islamic law) would be introduced in Brunei—transforming the lives of his subjects who now face being publicly flogged or stoned to death for breaching the strict moral code.

The latest crackdown is on people “openly” enjoying Christmas. The penalties for crimes such as wearing a Santa’s hat in public stretch to five years in prison.

Last year, the Sultan’s Religious Enforcement Division raided businesses and demanded that Christmas trees be destroyed and store clerks take off their Santa costumes.

Any Muslim who so much as jingles a bell automatically becomes a kafir, or “unbeliever.”

“Some may think that it is a frivolous matter and should not be brought up as an issue. But as Muslims , we must keep it[Christmas] away as it could affect our Islamic faith,” so says the Sultan.

Speaking during a sermon at Friday prayers, an imam explained that the ban included lighting candles, putting up Christmas trees, singing carols, putting up decorations or “creating sounds and doing anything that amounts to respecting "their" religion.” ["their", must be Christianity]

The main thrust of the intervention appears to concern not just Christmas, but partying in the name of anything other than Allah.

“When celebrating such festivities, there certainly exists beliefs and practices that are against the teachings of Islam,” the imam explained. “Be careful not to follow such celebrations that are totally not related to Islam.”

What, like massive sex parties? The sultan and his brother Prince Jefri were described as “constant companions in hedonism” in a 2011 Vanity Fair profile.

They famously keep a harem of beautiful women from all over the world at their beck and call in their palaces, aboard their fleet of private jets, or invited inside what is thought to be the world’s most expensive collection of supercars.

Jefri, who is said to have blown billions on gifts and parties, once owned a 150-foot yacht called Tits.

These are the most powerful men in a country where the punishment for other people committing adultery is stoning to death; alcohol consumption is a flogging offence; and there’s capital punishment for sodomy.


OK, assuming a degree of accuracy in Chico's article, what might we learn from this?

I t seems to me there are two issues here. One is the Santa's hat and the other is hypocrisy. Let us consider the matter of Santa's hat first. [ This would include any or all of Santa's costume, Christmas trees, cards, bells, wreaths, gifts, carol singing, etc. ]  Writer Chico is obviously of the opinion that this "ban" is frivolous and ridiculous. He seems to be implying that Muslims need to "lighten up".

Let's not be too quick to beat on a Muslim leader trying to "forbid" Christmas celebration. Every Religion has a list of "forbids".  Sometimes what is "forbidden" is an activity which can easily be avoided, forgone, given up. {probably for the good, like alcohol].  No one suffers much for not being allowed to wear a Santa hat.

Islam does not have the corner on Religious "forbids". What is forbidden may be trivial, irrational and often ignored [as in Western societies] or it may be a serious issue, the spin-off going to disaster, oppression and misery, even death.

Let's look at some of the forbids in the Christian Holy Bible. Ridiculous stuff first: Rules on what you can eat: For seafood, has to have scales and fin [a fish]. Shellfish, squid, shrimp, are therefore forbidden. On the internet, I saw a posting, "God hates Shrimp". Some people demonstrate in front of the Red Lobster restaurant. [!!?!!]

No pork for the Hebrew, as we all know. Breaking this rule could get you tossed from the "community."

Then, disobeying the "forbids" gets serious, in terms of the consequences. Premarital sex seems to have drifted into a zone of acceptable, even the expected norm, in western societies. But elsewhere, this can get you seriously flogged. Being caught in an adulterous relationship in western countries may result in a divorce, big financial penalty, maybe loss of some "sensitive" job or position. But you will not be stoned to death.

All of the Big Three Religions took a dim view of homosexuality." If a man lies with a man".... this was, "put them to death".  You can go a number of places in this world  where this will still apply.

Consuming blood is said to be a problem for Christians, Jews and Muslims alike. Not too big an issue at first, but then came the Jehovah's witnesses and an understanding of blood transfusion. The Witnesses forbade blood transfusion. Transfusions have saved many lives. Many JW's have died rather than accept a blood transfusion. In some instances, they would rather their children died than let them be transfused.

Humiliation, flogging, stoning, death make five years in prison for wearing a Santa hat look like a slap on the wrist.

The Sultan of Brunei may be the world's richest man. More certainly, he is the world's greatest hypocrite. His palatial residence, fleets of expensive cars, a customized 747 and 150 foot yacht are on internet display. Investigative reporters have now interviewed some of the young women invited to be members of the royal "harem". Sexual relations with the Sultan and his playboy brother were a regular event. No shortage of alcohol at the royal parties, either. Apparently, the Sultan's brother absconded with billions of dollars when he was the finance minister. He spent it lavishly in all corners of the world and then returned to Brunei, never to face the music.

Sharia law calls for amputation of the arm at the elbow for stealing and death by stoning for adultery. It is evident that the brother, Jefri, still has both arms. Neither of the men have been flogged or stoned.

All the citizens of this country will now be governed by Sharia law.  The man who imposed the law, and his family, will not be touched by this law.

Meet the world's greatest hypocrite.

Every country has laws. These are necessary to keep order, settle disputes, and for the safety of all citizens. Laws should be written by Government. From time to time there may need to be new laws or changes to existing laws. These changes need to be made by government.

No religious leader or denomination should have, or ever have had, any input into the country's laws. The police will know the law and enforce it according to their priorities and resources. They will favor no one. Lawyers will prosecute and defend to the best of their ability. The country will have judges who have depth of knowledge of the law and whose background is of the Law Courts of the land. Nobody, absolutely nobody, can touch this judge.

There will be no hint of religion anywhere in this proceeding. Religious books are not the law. Religious leaders cannot administer the law. Let them stay in the church, temple, synagogue, mosque.

If I am in the court, I will have my lawyer and the Judge will hear me. I will accept the verdict of this judge. If I am punished, the punishment will fit the "crime".

I will not be flogged or stoned.

Here is a quotation from a Brunei  authority on their education system. It is a sort of Mission Statement.

"These two elements are essential in the development of individuals to their fullest potential, thereby bringing forth people who are knowledgeable, skillful, faithful, pious, and of excellent character which are fundamental in the realisation and emergence of a national identity based on the national philosophy as well as Islamic teachings in accordance with Ahli Sunnah Wal-Jamaah."

I see the words, "faithful, pious, and of excellent character". This is for everybody but the Sultan and his brother.

Hey, Mr. Sultan! I suddenly have idea for you!  You are not Muslim. Not any kind of Muslim. So, don't try to impose strict Islamic laws, with brutal punishments, on your people. Let them be any kind of religion they want. Brunei does need  laws. How about this idea? Just copy the Laws from Australia. [ Liberal, fair-minded country just south of you] . They will not mind.

Meanwhile, try to be a little less extravagant in your personal life style. I have a problem with the fleet of cars.

I do not have a problem with all the young ladies you have brought to your side. I understand  you and your brother are very generous to them. You just like the playtime! I guess I am too old; you like the teenager. If you asked me, I have to admit, I would think about it.

Meanwhile, there is some stuff you and your brother need to think about.