Virgin Australia ends staff deal with Brunei airline over sharia law

A newlywed couple at the Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien mosque in Bandar Seri Begawan the capital of Brunei where laws are taking effect

The tiny Southeast Asian nation of Brunei brings into force on Wednesday harsh sharia laws, including death by stoning for gay sex and adultery, that has sparked an global outcry and fears among some citizens.

The University of Aberdeen said sultan Hassanal Bolkiah's LLD (Doctor of Laws), awarded in 1995, will be urgently raised with its honorary degrees committee.

"I want to see Islamic teachings in this country grow stronger", Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah said in a public address, according to AFP news agency, without mentioning the new laws.

Even before 2014, homosexuality was already punishable in Brunei by a jail term of up to 10 years.

According to International Christian Concern, this law is hard news for Christian converts who are expected to have to go into deeper hiding in the nation where conversion from Islam is now illegal and punishable by death.

Brunei has been condemned by various countries and imminent personalities including actor George Clooney and Elton John, for implementing the law.

"Given the harsh (including death) penalties being introduced for activity that is legal and acceptable in Australia, the myID (staff travel) agreement between Virgin Australia and Royal Brunei has now been terminated effective immediately", the email said. The country first adopted sharia law in 2014 but in a duel penal system alongside Common Law. The campaign is in response to Brunei's introduction of death by stoning for gay sex yesterday.

The aforementioned hotels have always been on Elton John's no-go list for five years now after the Sultan first announced his plans to implement the new rules back in 2014.




"I was never out or openly gay in Brunei, relationships were hard, my last relationship was with a Bruneian and the families were suspicious", he said.

"Like many Australians we find these new measures to be extremely confronting and we share the concerns of those organisations that have contacted us over the matter", Melbourne Airport chief executive Lyell Strambi said.

"Brunei's new penal code is barbaric to the core, imposing archaic punishments for acts that shouldn't even be crimes", said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director for Human Rights Watch, in a statement.

The south-east Asian kingdom scheduled the offence to be introduced today leading to much shock and fear among the nation's small LGBT community. "It hasn't happened yet but because of the new laws, people are afraid".

The Muslim-majority oil-rich sultanate has a population of about 440,000.

Tory MP Philip Hollobone, who is usually an opponent of LGBT+ rights, also called on the government to "make clear that such punishments are simply incompatible with Commonwealth membership".

A list of Brunei-supported hotels has been making the rounds as places to be boycotted, which Helena Dalli also retweetedWhat do you think of Brunei's new law?

"Are we really going to help pay for these human rights violations?" he questioned in an opinion piece written for Deadline.

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