Agus Setyadi, Banda Aceh – The Brunei Darussalam sultanate has enacted laws ranging from canning to stoning to death for the crime of homosexuality. Prior to enacting the laws, Brunei conducted comparative studies in Aceh to learn about Islamic law.
"Brunei often came to [Aceh] including [meeting with] the Ulama Consultative Assembly (MPU) to hold discussions. Not just Brunei, but Malaysia also, Thailand as well. We held discussions with them and exchanged ideas", said Aceh MPU deputy chairperson Teungku Faisal Ali when sought for confirmation by journalists on Thursday April 4.
During the meetings with Aceh ulama [religious leaders], the Brunei representatives discussed Islamic law in general but did not discuss the issue of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) specifically.
Aceh has already applied the punishment of canning for LGBT people. Those caught in same-sex relationships face punishments of as many as 100 lashes in accordance with Quanan (bylaw) Number 6/2014 on the Islamic Criminal Code which has been in effect since 2015.
"(During the meetings) there was no [specific] discussion on LGBT but a general discussion about the implementation of Syariat Islam [Islamic law] to protect society and to apply God's commands. That was what we discussed in general", explained Faisal.
Based on information gathered by Detik.com, the Brunei sultanate conducted a comparative study in provincial capital of Banda Aceh in September 2014.
At the time seven Brunei Islamic judges headed by Hadiyati Binti Abdul Hadi were received by Banda Aceh Mayor Illiza Saaduddin Djamal, the head of the Aceh Islamic Court, the Banda Aceh public prosecutor, Husni Tamrin and the heads of all regional government work units (SKPD) from the Banda Aceh municipal government (Pemko).
During the meeting, Hadiyati admitted that their aim in coming to Banda Aceh was to find out about the Quanun (bylaw) and Islamic Courts in Banda Aceh and Aceh province so that they could be adopted and implemented in Brunei – a country with a population of 400,000 people.
"We in Brunei have already enacted three stages, namely stage one punishment through takzir [punishment at the discretion of the judge], stage 2 through hudud [punishment under Islamic criminal law] but not the death sentence and stage 3 which later will be punishment through hudud including the death sentence. Currently we are still at stage 1", said Hadiyati as quoted in a release issued by the Banda Aceh municipal government on October 1, 2014.
In addition to this they also came to Aceh to conduct a study first hand because Aceh already has a Qanun which regulates hudud. During the meeting the judges also wanted to study exactly what efforts the government has pursued in upholding Islamic law.
"Aside from this we also wanted to share ideas, exchange views and make a joint declaration with the Band Aceh Pemko on the issue", he said. (agse/asp)
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Hukum Mati LGBT, Brunei Pelajari Syariat Islam di Aceh".]