Los Angeles liberals are –rightfully – abuzz at the decision by the government of Brunei to adopt strict Sharia laws. The Beverly Hills City Council on Tuesday called for new ownership of the hotel so it "will not be tarnished by the Brunei government's actions." Even Kim Kardashian’s bridal shower, which was originally planned for the Beverly Hills Hotel, was relocated. Protests have erupted over "extreme and inhumane" Sharia laws, and mainstream media has reported pressures against the Brunei government for their stance on human rights, homosexuality and other issues. Brunei’s laws call for strong punishments for those found guilty of homosexuality or adultery -- including stoning the convicted to death.
Rightfully, comedian Jay Leno said, "It's not a political issue. This is not something that's debatable. ... It's people being stoned to death." Clearly this is the first time in many years that Hollywood has had its collective heads screwed on straight. One wonders what is next in terms of combating Sharia law countries and how far people will go to challenge Sharia law countries' ownership interests –and sponsorships – in America.
Sharia money has a long reach. This weekend, in Central Park, the New York City Road Runners run was sponsored by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) embassy, in honor of the late President Sheikh Zayed. The UAE also practices Sharia law - adultery and homosexuality are illegal, and wife beating is legal, assuming no physical marks are left on the woman. Of course, today, if one is in the UAE they aren’t likely to use social media – as the freedom to use social media, does not extend to all. Under a 2012 cybercrime law that features vaguely defined offenses and harsh penalties, an American was arrested last year and served nine months in a maximum security prison for posting a negative video about the sons of powerful Dubai officials.
The race this weekend was run in honor of Sheikh Zayed. During Sheik Zayed’s time as ruler he was criticized for corporal punishment of prisoners and “conducting a slave ring of Bangladeshi children whom he would have kidnapped, starved, and then force to compete as jockeys in the country's popular camel races.” A 1994 report indicates that
Amnesty International urged President al-Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahayan to commute all death sentences and called for punishments such as amputation and flogging to be replaced with an alternative form of punishment which does not amount to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. Amnesty International also called for the immediate and unconditional release of all prisoners of conscience.
And if the Beverly Hills Hotel is California, then what can be more New York than the Chrysler Building? The Abu Dhabi Investment Council, an investment arm of the Government of Abu Dhabi, owns the Chrysler Building, which paid over 800 million dollars for the 75% share it owns. And if real estate is deemed to be boycotted by the elites, are the financiers also game? Sharia law authorities are in business with prestigious American banking institutions, including Barclays, Dow Jones, Standard & Poors, HSBC, Citibank, Merrill Lynch, Deutschebank, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, UBS, Credit Suisse and others.
Sharia Law is incompatible with Western values. And while Arab wealth stretches very far Sharia law is indeed dangerous. If, indeed, the uber-liberal Beverly Hills City Council succeeds in forcing out the Brunei government, will other businesses be far behind?
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