Sultan and Prime Minister Sir Hassanal Bolkiah
The sultan is seen as the protector and defender of the Muslim faith, and leaving Islam is illegal. Converts can be punished under penal law, and families and communities will exert great pressure to “bring them back” to their original faith. Christians tend not to face outright violence, however.
Non-traditional Christian communities cannot be registered as churches, but have to be registered as companies, societies or family centers. As such, they are treated as secular organizations and are required to submit their financial and operational reports to the government every year. Sharia (Islamic law) continues to be introduced in the country and implemented more widely.
“Believers are not willing to take risks. Parents choose not to send their children to public church events either. Some of my friends have even said they don’t see a place for themselves in the church anymore.”
Elora was the only Christian in her school. She has faced a lot of questions and pressure, but still serves God through her church.
The implementation of the Shariah (Islamic law) penal code has increased insecurity and fear among Brunei’s Christian population, and has increased the pressure felt by Christians in public and private life.
Christians from a Muslim background are the most vulnerable to persecution.
Open Doors raises prayer support for persecuted believers in Brunei.