Celebrities are calling for boycotts of luxury hotels owned by Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah after he enacted the final phase of Sharia law that punishes homosexuals with death by stoning.
The new law, which is globally denounced by human rights groups, only affects Muslims who live in the tiny Islamic nation in Southeast Asia.
The Brunei government defended the new law and called for stronger adherence to Islamic teachings of Sharia law in the country.
The new law calls for death by stoning for males who engage in homosexual activity and 100 lashes for lesbians. Severe punishment will also be doled out for adultery and stealing.
Brunei said the new laws were enacted to "educate" and protect Islam.
Sharia laws have been rolled out in the oil-rich country since 2014. The final - and most controversial - phase became law on April 3.
Under the new laws, anyone caught stealing will lose at least one limb. The law will be applied to children once they reach adolescence - ages 9 to 12 - and teenagers.
Stars such as actor George Clooney and TV personality Ellen DeGeneres, who is openly lesbian, called for boycotts of all hotels owned by the sultan worldwide. The multi-million dollar properties include the exclusive Beverly Hills Hotel and the Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles.
On Tuesday, DeGeneres tweeted an image listing all of the sultan's hotels around the world.
"Tomorrow, the country of #Brunei will start stoning gay people to death. We need to do something now. Please boycott these hotels owned by the Sultan of Brunei. Raise your voices now. Spread the word. Rise up."
Tomorrow, the country of #Brunei will start stoning gay people to death. We need to do something now. Please boycott these hotels owned by the Sultan of Brunei. Raise your voices now. Spread the word. Rise up. pic.twitter.com/24KJsemPGH
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) April 2, 2019
Twitter users expressed their outrage over the severe punishments. But Muslims defended the law, saying homosexuals and couples who commit adultery will only be punished if they are caught engaging in unlawful acts in front of witnesses.
"Stoning people to death for homosexuality or adultery is appalling and immoral," said former Vice President Biden in a Twitter post on Friday. "There is no excuse -- not culture, not tradition - for this kind of hate and inhumanity."
Former President Barack Obama, who calls Islam the religion of peace, has not commented on the new law.
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