As Sharia descends upon Brunei, non-Muslims are also forbidden to drink alcohol in public or be in close proximity to a Muslim partner. The banned word list is probably an attempt to forestall criticism of Islam, which is also forbidden to non-Muslims in Islamic law. In the West, the mainstream media has already voluntarily adopted this Sharia provision, even without a banned word list.
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN (Feb 23, 2014): The Brunei government will ban the use of 19 Islamic words, including “Allah” and “masjid”, by non-Muslims, according to the Brunei Times today.
The ban will take effect from April, the paper said.
Under the Syariah Penal Code Order, these words cannot be used with respect to other religions.
They are azan; baitullah; Al Quran; Allah; fatwa; Firman Allah; hadith; haji; hukum syara’; ilahi; Ka’bah; kalimah al syahadah; kiblat; masjid; imam; mufti; mu’min; solat; and wali.
The Brunei Times quoted Hardifadhillah Mohd Salleh, a senior syariah legal officer of the Islamic Legal Unit as telling staff of the Industry and Primary Resources Ministry on key parts of the order during a briefing.
He also said certain provisions of the order also apply to non-Muslims, such as zina (adultery) with a Muslim partner, drinking alcohol in a public place, and khalwat (close proximity) with a Muslim partner.
If convicted, the penalty is a fine of up to B$4,000 and/or one year in prison.
For adultery between a married Muslim and a married non-Muslim, both parties can be punished by stoning to death if the offence is proven by confession, or the testimony of four eye-witnesses.
The stipulation that there must be four eyewitnesses is based on the Qur’an: “And those who accuse chaste women and then do not produce four witnesses – lash them with eighty lashes and do not accept from them testimony ever after. And those are the defiantly disobedient.” (24:4)
The paper quoted Hardifadhillah as saying that any person who instigates any Muslim man or woman to divorce, or neglect their duties towards their partner can be fined up to B$4,000 and/or jailed for a year.
“Additionally, any Muslim parent who surrenders his child into the care of a non-Muslim can be fined up to B$20,000 and/or jailed for up to five years,” he was quoted as saying.
Brunei will enforce the Syariah Penal Code Order in three phases.