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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Brunei's sultan announces strict Islamic penalties

A new criminal law that could include penalties like amputation for theft and stoning for adultery will be enforced for Muslims in Brunei in six months, its ruling sultan announced.
Brunei's Shariah Islamic court had previously handled mainly family-related disputes. The sultan has been hoping to implement the new law for years to bolster the influence of Islam in the tiny, oil-rich monarchy on Southeast Asia's Borneo island.
Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah said the Shariah Penal Code should be regarded as a form of "special guidance" from God and would be "part of the great history" of Brunei.
"By the grace of Allah, with the coming into effect of this legislation, our duty to Allah is therefore being fulfilled," the sultan said at a legal conference in Brunei's capital.

'Guarantees justice for everyone'

The law would apply only to Muslims, who comprise about two-thirds of the population of nearly 420,000 people. The others follow mainly Buddhist, Christian and indigenous beliefs.
Brunei's Mufti Awang Abdul Aziz, the country's top Islamic scholar, told Tuesday's conference that the Shariah law "guarantees justice for everyone and safeguards their well-being."
"Let us not just look at the hand-cutting or the stoning or the caning per se, but let us also look at the conditions governing them," Awang said. "It is not indiscriminate cutting or stoning or caning. There are conditions and there are methods that are just and fair."
Under secular laws, Brunei already prescribes caning as a penalty for crimes including immigration offences, for which convicts can be flogged with a rattan cane. Awang said there should be no concerns that foreign travellers might end up avoiding Brunei after the law is implemented
The implementation of Shariah criminal law is not expected to face vocal opposition in Brunei, which has long been known for conservative policies such as banning the public sale of liquor."Please listen to our answer. Sir, do all potential tourists to Brunei plan to steal? If they do not, then what do they need to fear," he said. "Believe me when I say that with our Shariah criminal law, everyone, including tourists, will receive proper protection."
Sultan Hassanal, who has reigned since 1967, is Brunei's head of state with full executive authority. Public criticism of his policies is extremely rare in Brunei.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Malaysia to Host 8th Islamic Tourism Exhibition in Nov

Selangor Matta Chairman Datuk Helmi Daud said the target was based on the 20,000 visitors expected to visit the exhibition and sign up for the umrah package during the exhibition at Anggerik Mall here. 

"This year, the exhibition will focus on the umrah package as more than 30 agents will be offering the umrah package to visitors intending to perform the umrah between December this year and the Holy month of Ramadan next year," he told Bernama Tuesday. 

Helmi said umrah package would be the thrust of the exhibition to enable Muslims to opt for the package from registered agents so that they could perform the umrah at the Boly Land smoothly. 

"Of late, many people were cheated by dubious agents, incurring losses amounting to thousands of ringgit. 

"We've gathered agents registered with Matta and the Tourism and Culture Ministry to offer a genuine umrah package to Muslims planning to perform the umrah," he said. 

Advising Muslims to be cautious with umrah packages being offered, Helmi said the minimum cost was about RM6,000, inclusive of airfare and accommodation. 

He said umrah package offered cheaper than the amount was doubtful. 

"Muslims planning to perform the umrah must be careful in order not to fall prey to unscrupulous agents. 

Besides umrah package, several Islamic tourism packages will also be on offer to visitors at attractive prices from 63 participating tour agents.