Beverly Hills Hotel finds flogging women, stoning gays, bad for business

The Beverly Hills Hotel is finding itself in the middle of a political and media firestorm, after human rights activists learned that the posh Hollywood venue is owned by the Sultan of Brunei, a man who just instituted Sharia law whereby women will be flogged for having abortions, and gays will be stoned to death.

Apparently flogging women and stoning gays is bad for business.

UPDATE: It seems the US ExIm Ban has a $1bn financing agreement with Brunei. Perhaps that needs another look.

It all began with the Gill Action Fund cancelling a conference at the hotel.  Next up, the Feminist Majority Foundation pulled its annual Global Women’s Rights Awards, co-chaired by Jay and Mavis Leno. Then the Motion Picture & Television Fund yanked its “glitchy” Oscar party, the Hollywood Reporter canceled its Women in Entertainment breakfast, actor Stephen Fry canceled his reservations and announced a boycott, and so on.

Jay Leno joins protesters from the Feminist Majority Foundation outside the Bevery Hills Hotel. (Photo courtesy of Feminist.org)

Jay Leno joins protesters from the Feminist Majority Foundation outside the Bevery Hills Hotel. (Photo courtesy of Feminist.org)

The Beverly Hills Hotel is part of the Dorchester Collection, which is owned by the Brunei Investment Agency, which is controlled by the Sultan himself, Hassanal Bolkiah.  Dorchester owns a number of other swank properties in the US and Europe:

other-dorchester-properties

The trouble began when the sultan of the oil-rich Asian country (Brunei is north of Australia and Indonesia), who is himself filthy and lavishly rich — he’s apparently a big fan of gold, and has a gold-plated Rolls-Royce — announced a new Sharia penal code (based on conservative Islam) under which, among other things, women who have abortions will be flogged and anyone gay will be stoned to death.

The law also provides for the severing of limbs for property crimes.

While Brunei has delayed implementation of the new law, they have said it will go into effect “in the very near future.”

"Hansel was stoned, Gretel got flogged, and they all lived happily ever after."

“Hansel was stoned, Gretel got flogged, and the filhty-rich Sultan lived happily ever after.”

For its part, the Beverly Hills Hotel is trying to explain away the hate:

“We continue to abide by the laws of the countries we operate in and do not tolerate any form of discrimination of any kind.

“We are aware that many variations of Sharia law are practiced in many countries throughout the world and these countries have diverse business interests including fashion, hospitality and travel groups, media, entertainment, banking and many other sectors.”

I suppose that means the hotel doesn’t participate in stonings in the US. That’s nice.

As for the hotel’s suggestion that there’s some hypocrisy going on here, because people have no problem frequenting businesses tied to other Sharia-law countries, they’re right. We shouldn’t be supporting those businesses either. But that’s not a good reason to end the boycott, simply because other businesses are run by human rights abusers too.  The appropriate response is to find out who those businesses are and avoid them like the plague.

And for all you naysayers, the Sultan assures us that Allah thinks the law is fair:

“Theory states that Allah’s law is harsh and unfair, but Allah himself has said that his law is indeed fair,” the Sultan said in comments apparently aimed at critics.

And after all, do we really have the right to go after someone’s business simply because we disagree with his God?


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    The White House gives less of a fuck what we think about this.

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    Andalusian Resorts and Spas, Inc. Endorses Protest to
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    LAS VEGAS, May 07, 2014 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Andalusian Resorts and
    Spas, Inc. (the “Company”) (symbol: ARSP.PK), announced today that it has
    endorsed Tuesday’s May 6th vote by The City of Beverly Hills to pressure the
    government of Brunei to divest from the Beverly Hills Hotel after Brunei’s
    enactment of Sharia law. The Company is against human rights violations in all
    countries, not just Brunei. It asks the government of Brunei to divest ownership
    of hotels and any other properties, and condemns it and other countries that
    operate under Islamic criminal law against the LGBT global community.

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    any Hotel property that is prepared to divest ownership and is prepared to take
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    Andalusian
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    Divest the Beverly Hills Hotel

    LAS VEGAS, May 07, 2014 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Andalusian
    Resorts and Spas, Inc. (the “Company”) (symbol: ARSP.PK), announced today that it has
    endorsed Tuesday’s May 6th vote by The City of Beverly Hills to pressure the
    government of Brunei to divest from the Beverly Hills Hotel after Brunei’s
    enactment of Sharia law. The Company is against human rights violations in all
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  • Silver_Witch

    Best response EVER! Good job Buford.

  • Buford

    If Allah thinks it’s fair, let Allah apply the punishment… otherwise, men have no business telling us, without ANY evidence, how Allah wants them to punish others.

  • samizdat

    “‘…but Allah himself has said that his law is indeed fair,” the Sultan said in comments apparently aimed at critics.”

    Shades of Orel Roberts and his 900 foot Jeebus.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    The problem, as ever, is the inevitably corrupting evil of men being permitted to assert they know what God wants — and that what God allegedly wants cannot be refuted by any rational argument or moral position.

    I still maintain the problem isn’t religion or spirituality intrinsically, as there are plenty of belief systems out there which do not proselytize, evangelize, or have unseemly attachments to worldly things, nor obsess over imposing their beliefs on others. Not every religion has the brutal variant of Sharia Law (which not even all Muslims agree with), nor has every religion committed the crimes of the Inquisition or the enslavement of indigenous peoples, nor used its beliefs to oppress certain designated groups (such as women, people of color, sexual minorities, or unbelievers).

    The evil comes from allowing any religion led by eminently fallible and corruptible men to claim a monopoly on the truth and the right to force their beliefs upon others. Worse when they’re allowed to assert easily disproven falsehoods as religious beliefs which must be respected and given equal legitimacy with… well this thing called reality.

    Nobody — no individual or group — should have the right to drag the entire human race back down into the mud of ignorance and repugnantly backward and arbitrary moral codes.

    The Sultan of Brunei is wrong, of course. Allah himself did not say “the law is fair.” Men said that, men who claimed to know what Allah said, and other men chose to believe this unsubstantiated assertion. Just as there is no shortage of Christians who claim the Bible is the literal Word of God — even though there is clear and irrefutable evidence it was written, translated, and selectively interpreted by men.

    Men who always seem to have vested self-interest in what they’re asserting… I wonder why that is?

  • dcinsider

    Islam, like all Christian religions, and all other religions the invoke deieties, is a poison. Once swallowed, it rots the body from the inside, attacking brain cells first, particularly those that invoke reason are totally destroyed.

    It then infects the heart, leaving it cold, unfeeling, and judgmental.

    Finally, it destroys the soul.

  • Badgerite

    Yes. But I was saying that that is wrong. As in immoral. For me, morality and religion, like morality and law, do not always coincide.

  • donna fern

    you raise an interesting question. i would like to see the sultan brought to his court for promoting the violation of sharia in his business practices. i feel that would be the best jurisdiction for this issue. “…Despite official reluctance to use hadd punishments, vigilante justice still takes place. Honor killings, murders committed in retaliation for bringing dishonor on one’s family, are a worldwide problem. While precise statistics are scarce, the UN estimates thousands of women are killed annually in the name of family honor. Other practices that are woven into the sharia debate, such as female genital mutilation, adolescent marriages, polygamy, and gender-biased inheritance rules, elicit as much controversy. There is significant debate over what the Quran sanctions and what practices were pulled from local customs and predate Islam. Those that seek to eliminate or at least modify these controversial practices cite the religious tenet of tajdid. The concept is one of renewal, where Islamic society must be reformed constantly to keep it in its purest form. However, though many scholars share this line of thought, there are those who consider the purest form of Islam to be the one practiced in the seventh century….”

    Islam: Governing Under Sharia

    http://www.cfr.org/religion/islam-governing-under-sharia/p8034

  • Silver_Witch

    Thankfully I am do not have enough money to frequent such places….it is funny how they can invest in this country and have such different rules in their country – maybe the melding of different cultures will finally bring an end to such barbaric behavior (including our own death penalty).

  • StPauli

    Thank you to the Leno’s.

  • http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Arel Harry R. Sohl

    Speaking of what Allah says…

    Relatedly (in a way): Huffpo recently had an article on female genital mutilation and I thought, “how do we get through to these people?” Then I wondered if a campaign where the massage was “it is an insult to Allah” was the central message considering insulting Allah is often punishable under Sharia law?

    This site has the information, but how do we get this message to those populations?

  • Karma_HitMan

    I like you both

  • Indigo

    “is for business” or “is bad for business”?

  • emjayay

    Of course. Just like in Saudi Arabia, the proscriptions do not apply to the super rich/powerful class. They are just imposed by them.

  • bkmn

    More importantly this may turn out to have an affect on whether Brunei will be part of the TPP trade pact. If Brunei stays in they may be able to recoup lost operating costs due to a boycott.

    Contact the White House NOW to let them know that Brunei should not be a part of ANY trade pact if they practice hard line sharia law.

  • BrandySpears

    Religion manages to justify every form of barbarity imaginable. Always has.

  • Badgerite

    Religion does not justify inhumanity. Ever.

  • Cambel

    So it’s ok for his brother to fly every blonde prostitute and model in the world out there for lavish parties full of alcohol and drugs, to pay for their abortions etc…. but a regular citizen will be flogged and killed. Just another religious hypocrite, I hope that all of his properties end up having to be sold because nobody will stay there.

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