Hollywood is furious about the historic Beverly Hills Hotel and the Hotel Bel-Air connection to the draconian system of Sharia law that stones people for infractions such as homosexuality and adultery. Celebrities like Jay Leno and Ellen DeGeneres are participating in protests against the Dorchester Collection of hotels, which is owned by an arm of the government of Brunei, a tiny oil-rich nation near Malaysia, a nation which has recently embraced the strict penal code of Sharia law.
Reaction against the Sultan of Brunei and the hotel chain is strong, and growing quickly in Hollywood. MSNBC reports that, as of Tuesday, May 6, nine events have been canceled that were scheduled to be held at the iconic Beverly Hills Hotel, among them the exclusive Night Before the Oscars Gala, which has been held at the hotel since its inception.
Sharia law is now a cloud over the hotel that has been a part of the Beverly Hills landscape since 1912, the place where Elizabeth Taylor honeymooned with six of her eight husbands. The landmark has no doubt seen plenty of things that would get the participants executed if they occurred in Brunei under Sharia law.
Last month, some in the fashion industry, including Decades boutique co-owner Cameron Silver and designers Brian Atwood and Peter Som, got pretty vocal in calling for a boycott of the Dorchester properties. According to the Los Angeles Times, Silver reportedly said that the boycott was in response to the Sharia law provision that increased the penalty for homosexuality from ten years imprisonment to death by stoning. Also boycotting the chain is an LGBT group, followed by an ever growing group of activists as news of the protest spreads.
The Motion Picture & Television Fund, the Hollywood Reporter, the Feminist Majority Foundation, Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, and the Human Rights Campaign have all pledged to join the boycott as long as Sharia law is enacted by the Brunei government.
“I’d like to think that all people are basically good and when they realize this is going on, hopefully they’ll do something about it,” Jay Leno told the troops at the Monday night demonstration. “What year is this? What is this, 1814? Come on people, it’s 2014.”
But the chief executive of the Dorchester Collection, Christopher Cowdray, isn’t recommending that Leno and the others hold their breath. He derisively called the boycott “a misguided response – one that could potentially hurt employees who rely on tips, and derail millions of dollars that the hotels pump into the city’s economy.” He further clarified that “they won’t stop the implementation of the new laws.”
So what are these new laws? What is Sharia law? Is it just an extremely harsh punishment for gays and lesbians, which is the facet that Hollywood seems to be fixated upon?
According to opponents of Sharia law, it goes way beyond that. The dictionary definition of Sharia law is “the code of law derived from the Koran and from the teachings and example of Mohammed.” The word means “path” in Arabic. As it has been practically enacted in various parts of the world, a host of human rights violations have followed.
It is not just that homosexuality or adultery is not tolerated in Sharia law and is severely punished. Theft is punishable by cutting off limbs.
Opposition to child marriage is considered anti-Islamic in some places, with girls as young as nine years of age being seen as valid candidates for marriage, even to old men.
Female genital mutilation is sometimes practiced as part of Sharia, as are “honor killings,” which are legally sanctioned murders of family members, usually female, for bringing disgrace upon the family, sometimes by marrying an unapproved male.
In many countries that practice Sharia law, it is forbidden for girls to be educated.
Rape is certainly addressed in Sharia law, but in a very different way than Westerners would think. Under Sharia law, a woman’s testimony that she has been raped does not carry weight. In order for a man to be convicted of rape, there must be four male witnesses to the rape, who not only saw it happen, but also are willing to testify that it did happen. If a woman reports a rape without being backed up by four males, then under Sharia law, she can then be convicted of adultery, and punished by caning or stoning.
Men are instructed how to beat their wives under Sharia law. Also, marital rape is permitted.
Sharia law takes different forms in different countries under various interpretations, but all of the interpretations listed above do currently exist in some part of the world or another where Sharia is the law of the land. Human rights violations abound. Women and girls are frequently treated as less than human. There is no tolerance of differences.
Franklin Graham, son of evangelist Billy Graham and founder of Samaritan’s Purse, says that, “we should be afraid of Sharia law.
“We should be absolutely afraid of it. No question about it, because there’s no tolerance in Sharia law. It persecutes those that do not believe in Islam.”
While certainly Hollywood is right in opposing the stoning of people for being homosexual, one has to wonder if they have any idea what other travesties exist under Sharia law. While the United States government is far from perfect, the Constitutional freedoms secured in that document are worth emulating and fighting for. It looks like Hollywood may be beginning to see the intolerance that is all too common in those who advocate or practice Sharia law.
[images via bing]