Brunei's new laws affect sultan's Hollywood ties

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 6, 2014 at 5:14 am •  Published: May 6, 2014
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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Hollywood is responding to harsh new laws in the tiny Southeast Asia nation of Brunei by boycotting the Beverly Hills Hotel.

The Motion Picture & Television Fund joined a growing list of organizations and individuals Monday refusing to do business with hotels owned by the sultan or government of Brunei. They're protesting the country's new Islamic Shariah criminal law that calls for punishing adultery, abortions and same-sex relationships with flogging and stoning.

The Motion Picture & Television Fund says it won't hold its annual Night Before the Oscar party at the hotel as it has for many years.

"We cannot condone or tolerate these harsh and repressive laws and as a result support a business owned by the sultan of Brunei or a Brunei sovereign fund associated with the government of Brunei," the fund's directors said in a statement.

Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, who owns the Beverly Hills Hotel, has praised his country's new laws as a "great achievement."

"The decision to implement the (Shariah penal code) is not for fun but is to obey Allah's command as written in the Quran," the sultan said last week.

Brunei, a conservative country where alcohol is banned and Muslim courts already govern family affairs, began phasing in its version of Shariah that allows for penalties such as amputation for theft and stoning for adultery. Most of the punishments can be applied to non-Muslims, who account for about one-third of the 440,000 people in the oil-rich country.

The most severe punishments — flogging, amputation and stoning — are to be introduced over the next two years.

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