Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Article About Masons In UAE Paper

An article appeared in the United Arab Emirates paper The National about the writer's grandfather being a Mason. It's brief, but gives a thumbnail sketch of Freemasonry in the Middle East. I never knew the UAE and Iraq could ever be so tolerant of Masons.

Check out Secret Societies Fascinate As They Keep Us Guessing by Rym Ghazal:

A relative who was almost 90 passed away recently, and despite efforts to find out more, he stubbornly took his “secret” with him.Well, it wasn’t much of a secret that he was a Freemason, as he always wore his Masonic ring and several details from his life indicated he was part of this special fraternity.But I still say “secret” because Freemasonry began in medieval Europe as a guild for stonemasons and acquired a reputation for secrecy.This relative is believed to have joined the Freemasons via his work at the Iraq Petroleum Company, known before 1929 as the Turkish Petroleum Company. He used to travel and set up businesses in places like Liberia, the US and elsewhere. But he seemed to always have “help” whenever he went.When asked how one joined and other details about the fraternity, he would say no more than that they are “like brothers” and not all Freemasons are very famous and very rich.In the late 1800s and early 1900s, Freemasonry was quite popular in the Middle East, with many important figures such as Lebanon’s first president Charles Debbas, Lebanese poet Khalil Gibran and the late King Hussein of Jordan rumoured to be part of the organisation.There is no room to discuss its complete history but according to several sources, Scots established the first lodge in the Middle East. It was in Aden in 1850. The first Masonic Lodge in Lebanon was chartered by the Grand Lodge of Scotland in 1861 and given the name Palestine Lodge No. 415. A lodge in Palestine followed in 1873. The movement went through different phases of activity and inactivity. Today of course one can google the Freemasons and even buy Masonic rings online, but I doubt they are authentic. The public likes to analyse and look for hidden symbols, what they mean and where they originated.

Read the rest of the article here.

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