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Brunei Gets Serious About New Laws as Dorchester Hotels Boycott Intensifies

May 2, 2014 at 3:49 PM | by | ()

The Sultan of Brunei--whose Brunei Investment Agency owns the luxurious Dorchester Collection of hotels--announced yesterday that the first phase of the adoption of Sharia law for his country has begun.

This first phase, which is guided by Islamic principles, will administer fines or jail terms for offenses like pregnancy out of marriage, failure to perform Friday prayers and propagating other religions. The second phase will start next year and will issue amputations and/or whippings for thefts or alcohol consumption. Later next year, the law will introduce the death penalty by stoning for adultery, sodomy and insulting the Koran or the Prophet Muhammad. While most of the tiny country is Muslim, about 15 percent of the citizens are non-Muslims yet they will still be subjected to Sharia law.

The law was supposed to go into effect a few weeks so there is speculation that the Sultan was wavering but clearly, he decided to go ahead with it.

Meanwhile, the boycott of Dorchester Hotels in Beverly Hills is heating up.

High-profile meetings and conferences, including one by a prominent LGBT group, scheduled to be held at the hotel have now been cancelled. The other day, crowds gathered outside the Beverly Hills Hotel to protest the new laws, with two members of a hospitality labor union holding a pink sign that read, “This hotel is owned by homophobes." Ouch. Last week, the hotel put out this statement to remind people that the laws of Brunei do not apply to their guests or employees:

Dorchester Collection’s Code, endorsed by the company’s ownership, emphasizes equality, respect and integrity in all areas of our operation, and strongly values people and cultural diversity amongst our guests and employees.”

No matter. Sharon Osbourne has also publicly joined the boycott and we're sure there will be more celebrities to come.

It's hard to see the hotels we love so much be associated with something so evil but we're hopeful the Dorchester Collection can distance themselves from the Sultan of Brunei or perhaps the sultan himself will change his mind before next year. Probably wishful thinking but if the boycotts begin to affect the hotels' bottom line, then we're sure a resolution will come quick.

In the meantime, here's a list of all the Dorchester Collection hotels for your own reference:

The Hotel Bel-Air
The Beverly Hills Hotel
The Dorchester
45 Park Lane
Coworth Park
Le Meurice
Hotel Plaza Athenee (Paris)
Le Richemond
Hotel Principe de Savoia
Hotel Eden

[Photo: HotelChatter]

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