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KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 16 ― An international meeting of Freemasons from 15 countries will take place in the Penang state capital next week as scheduled, its organiser has confirmed despite a recent protest threat by an Umno member.
A senior member of the District Grand Lodge of the Middle East (DGLME), which is behind the four-day Scottish Masonic Conference in George Town from February 24 to 27, also asserted that detractors were mistaken in assuming the group is part of the Illuminati as alleged.
“We are a registered society and whatever that's being said is inaccurate. Whatever they are saying in untrue. Illuminati is something totally different and has got nothing to do with our movement.
“For your information, most of our members are experienced professionals such as lawyers, doctors and many others and DGLME has been around for 100 years,” the Freemason organising committee member told Malay Mail Online on condition of anonymity.
The spokesman said that none of the organising members have been approached by the authorities after the fuss raised by Umno Youth executive council member Armand Azha Abu Hanifah on his blog last week.
“We are a charity and self-development organisation like your Rotary Club, Lions Club and all that. We do not get involved in politics and religious affairs. I don't know what he is accusing us about.
“Normally we have our annual meetings in Kuching, Sabah, and other places but this time, in conjunction with our 100th year anniversary, we chose Penang,” he added.
Last week, Armand called on Islamic groups to rally against the Freemasons conference in George Town, labelling it an Illuminati agenda.
He also demanded the Penang government explain why the International Scottish Masonic Conference was allowed to hold its meeting in the state.
“Many who contacted me agreed to reveal this meeting and although I was advised to not meddle as their movement is considered strong and major, I hold to Islamic teachings. Guided by Quran’s 30 verses, I felt it should be stopped and cancelled,” Armand said in his blog.
“I would like to urge and openly protest against this meet. I want Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng together with Pakatan Harapan leadership to explain why this Freemason/Illuminati meet was allowed,” he added.
Freemasonry is a collection of diverse worldwide fraternities that started out as local groups for stonemasons, steeped in rituals and symbolisms.
It has been linked to the Illuminati in a conspiracy theory of a secret group of masterminds allegedly controlling world affairs and trying to establish a New World Order, although there is no evidence suggesting such a group exists.
Some Muslims oppose Freemasonry, claiming that it is linked to Jews, Zionists, Satan worship, and even linking it to Dajjal, the purported anti-Christ in Islamic tradition.
Freemasons worldwide are divided by districts, and DGLME is among the 26 District Grand Lodges under the main organisation, Grand Lodge of Scotlands ― with jurisdiction over 22 lodges in Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.
DGLME started operations in Kuala Lumpur in 1916, bringing together three lodges in then Malaya ― Lodge Scotia in Penang, Lodge Tullibardine in Kuala Lumpur, and Lodge Malay in Klang.
Besides DGLME, there also exists the District Grand Lodge of the Eastern Archipelago under a different movement, the United Grand Lodge of England, dating back to Penang’s founding by Francis Light in 1786.