Moslem Shriners (Freemasonry)
I wanted a dedicated study of the Moslem Shriners, a little-known group within the Freemasons.
The Freemasons are a secret society and an international fraternity that originated among European stonemasons between the 14th and 18th centuries. They are an aristocratic response to Christianity and Catholicism in particular, and the group has taken on anti-Christian beliefs, rituals, and symbols. At its core, Freemasonry is monotheistic (believing in one God or one Higher Power), deistic (God does not interfere in the creation), and naturalistic (no belief in spirits). Freemasonry hit the height of its popularity in the 19th and 20th centuries, which coincided with modernism and the rise of secular ideologies.
The group is secret, so it communicates via symbols and numerology. Those in the fraternity cannot reveal their secrets to non-members. Since they are “masons”, much of their symbolism is hidden in the architecture of cities and buildings. The Freemasons have Lodges, where they meet for activities. Though the Freemasons are still around in large number, it is not taken as seriously in post-modern times – it’s become more of a family tradition for many people.
Nonetheless, Freemasonry was an opponent of Christianity, and so certain non-Christian (or anti-Christian) symbols and practices were adopted into their secret order. This included some Muslim terms and symbols, as the “Mohammedans” were the main enemies of Christian Europe. The adoption of Arabic pass words (terms like salaam alaykum), Islamic symbols (moon and star), and Middle Eastern apparel (the fez, the regalia) was all of the Edward Said-esque orientalism and obsession with the Eastern non-Christian “other”. These superficial representations of “Islam” were an avant-garde expression of the secret society – a way to peacock their distinction while simultaneously angering devout Christians with their Mohammedan otherness.
In the 1870’s, the “Moslem Shriners” were founded. The Shriners are an appendant body to the Freemasons – meaning, it is a sub-group. Every Shriner is a Freemason, but not every Freemason is a Shriner. This sub-group was founded after Freemason trips to Algeria and Egypt, where Masons were invited to the parties of Arabian dignitaries. These parties were spectacular, and Arabian culture seemed so fascinating, so upon the Masons’ return to the United States, they founded the Moslem Shriners. The Shriners are a group dedicated to men’s entertainment, and so they would hold parades, circuses, and festivals. They opened up hundreds of “Temples” across North America. The Shriners still exist today, but the group now is almost exclusively an entertainment group. However, historically, it seemed to be much more than that.
The United States was established as a secularist state by white male aristocrats – many of whom were members of the Freemasons and other similar non-Christian secret society. Without going into too much detail, you can find symbols of Freemasonry all over Washington and U.S currency.
The Freemasons long had an interest in the Muslim world – hence the depictions of pyramids on U.S currency and the Egyptian-style obelisk we call the Washington Monument. We also find pagan symbols, such as the statue of Persephone, the all-seeing eye of Ra, and the pentagram shape of the city centre.
So we can see why the Freemason would be interested in looking into “Islamic” symbology: they were adopting symbols from the non-Christian world. Remember, this was all occurring at a time when travel to the Muslim world was limited, immigration was limited, and communication with practicing Muslims was very limited. In the 19th century in the United States, there were very few ways of ascertaining “true Islam”.
We see the Islamic star and moon, an Egyptian pharaoh, and a curved sword associated with Arabia. Is there more to this fraternity than fun and games? Below is the alleged “Shriners Oath”, the oath that one takes when becoming a Moslem Shriner. The man must put his hand on the Qur’an and say the following:
The High Priest of the Temple says to the initiate: “By the existence of Allah and the creed of Mohammed; by the legendary sanctity of our Tabernacle at Mecca, we greet you.”
The initiate then says: “I do hereby, upon this Bible, and on the mysterious legend of the Koran, and its dedication to the Mohammedan faith, promise and swear and vow … that I will never reveal any secret part or portion whatsoever of the ceremonies … and now upon this sacred book, by the sincerity of a Moslem’s oath I here register this irrevocable vow … in willful violation whereof may I incur the fearful penalty of having my eyeballs pierced to the center with a three-edged blade, my feet flayed and I be forced to walk the hot sands upon the sterile shores of the Red Sea until the flaming sun shall strike me with livid plague, and may Allah, the god of Arab, Moslem and Mohammedan, the god of our fathers, support me to the entire fulfillment of the same. Amen. Amen. Amen.”
The Arabic Qur’an or its translation was symbolically placed in some of the Temples. What’s interesting is that the Qur’an, up until the 1960s, was almost a forbidden book in America. While elites like Thomas Jefferson certainly owned a copy of the Qur’an – perhaps as a Masonic embellishment – the Qur’an was not given to ordinary people. Libraries that owned copies of the Qur’an did not give it out except to Masons and Nation of Islam members; and even then, the books often needed to remain in the library. In 1865, when a fire burned the University of Alabama library down, the only book that was rescued from the fire was a Holy Qur’an:
There was certainly a distance reverence for the Qur’an among Freemasons, as if it were a collectors’ item of an anti-Christian tradition. Remember that Islamic scientists and philosophers had a lot to do with the European Renaissance, and those who were most receptive to the sciences of the Moors were these secularist whites. Till this day, university graduates wear a regalia gown and a “fez” with a stringy tassel – this is because universities were the bastions of secularism, naturalism, and secret societies. Ironically, you can say the Islam was a major contributor to naturalism and secularism, because Muslim scientists offered Europeans an alternative to a Bible-centred view of the universe.
By 1900, there were over 50,000 Moslem Shriners in America. That year, Shriner paraders greeted President Kinsley with “salaam alaykum”. In 1921, President Harding responded to the greeting with “wa alaykum salaam”.
Below are some very famous Moslem Shriners.
U.S President Truman:
U.S President Ford:
Canadian Prime Minister Diefenbaker
General Douglas MacArthur
Astronaut Buzz Aldrin
The mus`haf of Thomas Jefferson
Of course, the Freemason’s “Islam” would later be inherited by the Nation of Islam in the 1930s, whose very own Elijah Muhammad was involved in Black Mason movements prior to W.D. Fard’s coming. But that would need its own thread.