Leader of Moderate Muslim Country Threatens Social Media Critics with Flogging, Stoning to Death

"I’m very grateful for His Majesty’s outstanding leadership and his friendship," Obama said.

That's one way to win an argument.


Last year Obama hosted the Sultan of Brunei at the White House and praised him as "My good friend, His Majesty the Sultan of Brunei... His Majesty himself has led his country for 40 years now and he’s gone through nine U.S. Presidents."

That is the virtue of not having to stand for elections.

"I’m very grateful for His Majesty’s outstanding leadership and his friendship," Obama said.

Not everyone is as grateful back in Brunei, especially as the dictator begins advancing plans to go Full Islam.

Brunei's all-powerful sultan, stung by rare criticism, has ordered social media users to stop attacking his plans to introduce harsh Islamic criminal punishments in the placid oil-rich kingdom.

Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah -- one of the world's wealthiest men -- announced last October that Brunei would phase in sharia law punishments such as flogging, severing limbs and death by stoning beginning April 01.

The move has sparked a growing outcry on social media, the only outlet for public criticism of authorities in the Muslim country where questioning the 67-year-old sultan is taboo.

"It is truly frightening to think that we might potentially be stoned to death for being lovers, that we may be fined for being of a different sexual orientation, and that what we wear will be regulated," one recent posting said.

The sultan's wealth -- estimated at USD 20 billion by Forbes magazine in 2011 -- has become legendary with reports of a vast collection of luxury vehicles and gold-bedecked palaces.

In a weekend speech, the sultan issued a clear threat to the critics.

"They cannot be allowed to continue committing these insults, but if there are elements which allow them to be brought to court, then the first phase of implementing the Syariah Penal Code Order in April will be very relevant to them."

So why exactly does the media praise this monster who is a good deal worse than the President of the Ukraine?