MalayMailOnline.com reports today that, after a week of filing complaints, a group of twenty Muslim protesters in the Malaysian resort city of Penang gathered outside of a hotel and protested an International Conference of Scottish Freemasonry, demanding its cancellation.
From the article:
Dressed in red T-shirts, the demonstrators have been shouting “Allahu Akhbar” as they gathered in front of the hotel entrance under watch from several policemen on duty.
“They are Jews and anti-Islam, they must respect us and stop this conference,” several members of the group shouted, referring to the Freemasons.
They were earlier barred from entering the hotel by the police, but insisted they would not disperse until the conference is called off.
They also demanded a meeting with the hotel manager to make clear why the Freemason conference must not go on.
Freemasons from 15 countries are currently attending the four-day Scottish Masonic, which kicked off today and is scheduled to run until February 27.One of the protesters, president Jaringan Melayu Malaysia Azwanddin Hamzah, accused Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng of sponsoring the event.“We want the Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng to explain if the DAP state government is the one sponsoring this event,” he said.
Azwanddin labelled the Freemasons as Jews, anti-Islam and the group that started wars against Muslims.
“They are also the ones supportive of the LGBT,” he claimed, referring to the lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders,” he added.
Officers from the police anti-riot unit, the Light Strike Force, soon arrived, armed with batons to stand guard outside the hotel entrance after it looked as if the protesters might storm inside.
At about 3.45pm, northeast district police chief Assistant Commissioner of Police Mior Faridalatrash Wahid accompanied Azwanddin and three others from the group into the hotel.
The group returned five minutes later and told the others waiting outside that the conference was cancelled.
“We were shown the hall, it was emptied, the delegates have all been told to go back to their rooms, the event was cancelled because of our protest,” Azwanddin said.
He promised that the Malay group will protest again against any other Freemason event if they were held in the country.
UPDATE: A later report from New Straits Times says the Conference is still actually going on without interruption:
[A] check by the New Straits Times with the International Scottish Masonic Conference's event organising chairman Neoh Ho Keat revealed that the conference had not been called off. Neoh told the New Straits Times at the entrance that the event which started yesterday would wrap up tomorrow as scheduled. "Our conference proceeds. There is nothing to talk with the NGO members as we have done nothing against the Islamic religion. "Their presence has not deterred us from continuing with our programmes," he said. Neoh from Kuala Lumpur said some 300 delegates were present and another batch of 300 would arrive for the event's closing dinner tomorrow. The three-day conference is held to celebrate District Grand Lodge of the Middle East's centenary celebration.
This has been backed up by Brethren attending the Conference.
Freemasons in Malaysia are chartered under the District Grand Lodge of the Middle East under the Grand Lodge of Scotland. Also in Malaysia is the District Grand Lodge of the Eastern Archipelago under the United Grand Lodge of England. The country has a Sunni Muslim-majority that makes up 61% of the religion practiced there, and Constitutionally, Islam is the official religion.
The United Kingdom has just issued a terrorism warning to their citizens traveling to Malaysia. The country's beach resorts are popular with UK tourists and it is estimated that 400,000 Britons Journey there each year.
The Foreign Office issued the warning today on its website.