Who Is The Sultan of Brunei & Why Should We Boycott His Hotels?

By: Chelsea Davis

Like many other people, you have probably seen this image, and other similar images, going around the internet. Images calling all of us to boycott these hotels in protest. But protest of what?

Long story short, the Sultan of Brunei owns the hotels in the aforementioned picture. And Brunei (a small nation on the island of Borneo, just north of Indonesia), has introduced new laws that would make certain acts punishable by death — specifically stoning — as well as greatly increase the punishment for other offenses. The Sultan of Brunei called for these new laws as a way to implement “stronger Islamic teachings.” 

Why is this such a big deal? These laws specifically target the LGBTQ+ community. 

While there has always been punishment for certain acts related to the LGBTQ+ community, the punishments were less severe and very rarely carried out — especially the death penalty. The laws also were mostly enforced on Muslim individuals (Muslims make up around ⅔ of Brunei’s population), however, non-Muslims will also be subject to these new laws. 

Under these new laws, the offenses punishable by death include: rape, adultery, robbery, insult or defamation of the Prophet Muhammad, and sodomy (anal sex). Lesbian sex now carries a penalty of 40 strokes of the cane or 10 years in jail.

The Queer community in Brunei has voiced their displeasure and worry about these new laws — although anonymously, for their own safety. While the rest of the global community is calling for action against these outdated, harmful, and vile laws. Hence the above images. The Sultan of Brunei owns those businesses and he turns a good profit for his personal dealings. 

If we, collectively, decide to boycott his businesses in protest, we collectively send a message that what he and his country are doing is not ok. We collectively show the Sultan that we will not stand for his bigotry and hate by hitting him where it hurts him the most — his wallet. 

If you think your voice doesn’t matter — you’re wrong. Every voice matters, always. Every voice can make an impact and is needed to collectively make an impact or send a message. If everyone opted out of helping because they thought they didn’t matter, then no fight would’ve ever been won. It truly takes a village.