Muslim Group Protests U.S. Secretary of State’s Malaysia Visit

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — An international Islamist political organization held a noisy one-hour rally on Friday following prayers to protest U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s planned visit to Malaysia.
Several hundred members of the Malaysian branch of the Hizbut Tahrir carried signs reading “You Are Not Welcome in Our Lands” and “We Do Not Need You Here.”  The Hizbut Tahrir is an international political group that wants to unite Muslim countries into one Islamic state ruled by Islamic law. The group gathered outside a mosque next to the Pilgrims Fund Board and began a march toward the nearby U.S. Embassy here.

Police at the embassy stopped the protestors from advancing on the embassy, but they did allow two Hizbut Tahrir leaders to deliver a memo citing their objections to the visit by Mr. Kerry and U.S. President Barack Obama, described as “the enemies of Islam.”

Mr. Obama abandoned his scheduled visits to Malaysia and the Philippines earlier in the week due to the US government shutdown. He said Mr. Kerry would visit in his place. Then on Thursday, the president cancelled trips to Indonesia and Brunei, where he was to attend two high-level international summits. Mr. Kerry is expected to visit here later this month.

The protest in Malaysia on Friday highlighted the distrust some groups still feel toward the U.S. for what they feel is too much aggressiveness.

“We don’t want them because they are responsible for the deaths of the Muslims in Afghanistan and now in Syria,” Abdul Hakim Othman, the chairman of Hizbut Tahrir, told reporters at the protest. “They are entering our land, Muslim land. They are interfering in our matters. It is not their business.”

Hizbut Tahrir has branches in more than 40 countries, including in Malaysia. The Malaysia chapter, which began in 1996, has recently organized demonstrations in front of the Egyptian and Syrian embassies.  They have also held demonstrations outside mosques to draw attention to the Palestinians.

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