Last week, the nation of Brunei began instituting a sharia law code that can fairly be described as barbaric; once fully implemented it will involve penalties for premarital pregnancy, the severing of limbs, and death by stoning for adultery and gay sex. The country is small (pop. 440,000)—but it's wealthy, with a famously extravagant ruling family of oil and gas billionaires. One of its holdings is the Dorchester Collection, a group of luxury hotels in major world cities whose website is splashed with images of attractive people seemingly set to engage in activities that would not go over well in Brunei:
It's hard to imagine a more extreme culture clash than the one between "reactionary fundamentalists" and "customers of swank cosmpolitan hotels," and the rubber is already hitting the road via gay and feminist advocacy groups calling for boycotts and, yesterday, a protest outside the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles. Brunei's multi-billion dollar sovereign wealth fund appears to have other global real estate holdings as well, so this story could continue to escalate.