Sex, Drugs and Sharia Law?

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Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah and Queen Saleha ride in a royal chariot during a procession to mark the sultan's golden jubilee of accession to the throne in October, 2017. (Photo: ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Brunei’s Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah and Queen Saleha ride in a royal chariot during a procession in October 2017 marking the golden jubilee of the sultan’s accession to the throne. (Photo: ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Who’s got it all — sex, drugs and sharia law? The crazy rich sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah, who pushed through brutal new sharia laws for his country that become effective next week. Those laws allow for stoning and whipping to death LGBTQ people in the tiny oil-rich kingdom.

Seen as part of the kingdom’s “reforms” initiative, it begs the question: When are the sultan and his family going to reform their own non-sharia compliant deviant behavior (not to mention their exorbitant quasi-unIslamic extreme spending)?

As the new sharia-compliant laws are set to take effect on April 3, 2019, here are some fast facts about the sultan of Brunei, who is reported to be worth a cool $20 billion,  to keep his new penal code in perspective:

  1. In 2011, Vanity Fair dubbed the sultan of Brunei and his brother, Prince Jefri, “constant companions in hedonism.” 
  2. The extravagant parties of Brunei are an open secret. Vegas showgirls and high-end escorts are often flown in for “entertainment.” 
  3. In a lawsuit brought by Prince Jefri in a U.S. court , a scandal erupted when the prince attempted to prevent the court from seeing pictures of erotic life-sized statues of himself that show him “in the act.”
  4. While a good part of the Muslim world suffers from extreme poverty, the sultan of Brunei spent $27 million on his 50th birthday.
  5. Lavish parties of extreme opulence with no expense spared seem to be the norm in the sultan’s family. While the Quran doesn’t expressly forbid spending, it does encourage spending in the way of God and discourages waste. The life of the Prophet Muhammad also warned against personal excess. Meanwhile, the Sultan of Brunei…
  6. Entertains million dollar shopping sprees in London.
  7. Has a palace worth $350 million, plus homes globally.
  8. Is no shrinking violet when it comes to ostentatious displays of excess. “While playing polo with Britain’s Prince Charles, the sultan once had his polo shoes delivered – by helicopter – to the palace field.” His haircuts alone cost $21,000.
  9. And of course, it is against the grain of Islam to create pop-up harems simply because you feel like it: As documented by Vanity Fair in 2011, “The brothers routinely traveled with 100-member entourages and emptied entire inventories of stores such as Armani and Versace, buying 100 suits of the same color at a time. When they partied, they indulged in just about everything forbidden in a Muslim country. Afforded four wives by Islamic law, they left their multiple spouses and scores of children in their palaces while they allegedly sent emissaries to comb the globe for the sexiest women they could find in order to create a harem the likes of which the world had never known.”



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Shireen Qudosi

Shireen Qudosi is Clarion Project's National Correspondent.

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