Mustafa Akyol is a senior fellow on Islam and modernity at the Cato Institute and the author, most recently, of “The Islamic Jesus.”
At a time when Islam’s place in the modern world is a matter of global contention, Brunei, a small monarchy in Southeast Asia, has offered its two cents. By April 3, the nation, which is predominantly Muslim, had begun adhering to a new penal code with harsh corporal punishments. Accordingly, gay men or adulterers may be stoned to death, and lesbians may be flogged. Thieves will lose first their right hand, and then their left foot.
Understandably, these bits of news brought outcries from the United Nations, human rights organizations and celebrities like George Clooney. In return, the Brunei government dismissed all criticisms, reminding the world that the country is “sovereign” and “like all other independent countries, enforces its own rule of laws.”
As a Muslim, I should first tell my coreligionists in Brunei that their argument is not very good. Of course every country can enforce its own laws, but the content of those laws isn’t immune from criticism when it violates human rights. Read more via New York Times