Masjid Pintal Tali or Rope Walk Mosque is a small and unassuming mosque with a rich history. In the 19th century, it was the base of the Malay secret society called the Bendera Putih, or White Flag. The mosque was originally called Mesjid Syed Mohamed Bilfakih.
Masjid Pintal Tali was founded by the son-in-law of Tengku Syed Hussain, the late 19th century Acehnese clan leader who moved to Penang and set up base at Acheen Street. (The book The Chulia in Penang mentioned that it was founded in 1820.1) Ironically, Tengku Syed Hussain founded the Acheen Street Mosque, which was in the Red Flag territory, the enemy of the White Flags, during the Penang Riots.
The White Flag secret society affiliate themselves to the Ghee Hin Secret Society, which had its base at Meng Eng Choo nearby. Masjid Pintal Tali is located along Jalan Pintal Tali (translated Rope Walk by the British). It got its name because a good number of the people living there were rope spinners. The leader of the White Flag society was Tuan Chee, and its members were composed of Malays, Kelings (Indian Muslims), and Peranakan Jawis (Muslims of Indian and Malay parentage).
The White Flag Secret Society is the opponent of the Red Flag Secret Society, which is centred around the Acheen Street Mosque and whose leader is Syed Alatas.
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