On 28th March OutNews Global published an article about the introduction in the Kingdom of Brunei of death by stoning as the punishment for gay sex. We also published a list of other countries where the death penalty was applied for the same “offence”.
This story, which has also been widely run in the mainstream press, has been justifiably received with outrage and anger. I share that anger as does absolutely everyone I know, irrespective of their sexuality. Famous names like Ellen DeGeneres and George Clooney have taken to social media to call for a boycott of Brunei’s overseas assets, specifically the luxury hotels in the Dorchester Collection.
However, looking at some of the reactions on social media and at some of the emails which have been sent to me directly, I am disturbed that some of our readers are attacking the religion of Islam in general and, in some cases, British Muslims, because of the actions of a state which happens to be governed by Islamic law.
What is happening in Brunei is appalling, but it is no more the fault of British Muslims than the situation in Gaza is the fault of British Jews or, for that matter, the oppression of gay people in Kenya the fault of British people of colour.
We cannot – MUST NOT – conflate the actions of foreign governments with the identities of British people, whatever their ethnicity or religious beliefs. Britain is better than that. Britons are better than that.
So please, dear readers, reserve your ire for the governments of Afghanistan, Brunei, Iran, Mauritania, Sudan, Nigeria, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Somalia, as well as for the countries which, while not applying the death penalty, continue to demonise and criminalise gay people.
Thanks for reading.
Rob Harkavy, Editor