Pop icon Elton John has joined calls for a boycott of hotels owned by the Sultan of Brunei after the leader declared that homosexuality will be punishable by death under stricter adherence to Islamic Sharia Law.
Last week, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah announced that under new laws in the Muslim-majority country, anyone found guilty by a Sharia Court of sodomy, adultery, or rape would face the death penalty, including by stoning. Homosexuality is already punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
John, who is a long-standing LGBT rights activist alongside his partner David Furnish, said he was joining actor George Clooney in efforts to “send a message” to Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah that such treatment will not be tolerated.
“I believe that love is love and being able to love as we choose is a basic human right,” the 72-year-old wrote on Twitter. “Wherever we go, my husband David and I deserve to be treated with dignity and respect – as do each and every one of the millions of LGBTQ+ people around the world”
“I commend my friend, #GeorgeClooney, for taking a stand against the anti-gay discrimination and bigotry taking place in the nation of #Brunei – a place where gay people are brutalized, or worse – by boycotting the Sultan’s hotels,” he continued. “We must send a message, however we can, that such treatment is unacceptable. That’s why David and I have long refused to stay at these hotels and will continue to do so.”
Clooney made a similar call last week, denouncing Brunei’s laws as a new level of authoritarianism, despite the prevalence of similar Sharia Laws across the Islamic World.
“On this particular April 3rd, the nation of Brunei will begin stoning and whipping to death any of its citizens that are proved to be gay. Let that sink in,” Clooney said in a statement. “In the onslaught of news where we see the world backsliding into authoritarianism this stands alone.”