VSL in the Middle East?

Discussion in 'General Freemasonry Discussion' started by Bro_Vick, Nov 17, 2009.

  1. Bro_Vick

    Bro_Vick Moderator Premium Member

    I received the e-mail below asking about lodges in the middle east. My understanding is that most lodges in the middle east are not Muslim centric, rather, Christian, Jews, and Zoroastrians. But I could be way off, so anyone with any inputs, let me know, I did ping the Grand Lodge of Lebonon, but again I suspect it's one of the three mentioned above.

    All my interaction with Freemasonry in the middle east, it's not been with a Muslim, but I have a pretty small sample size. ;)

    "I am a Master Mason and my home Lodge is Valley Lodge 516 Valley, Alabama. I was recently visiting a Lodge in Texas and they were reading some amendments to be addressed at the upcoming Grand Lodge of Texas meeting in early December. One of the amendments was to allow the Koran to be on the alter along with the Holy Bible. One of the reasons given was because Lodges in the Middle east have the Koran on their alter. My question is; what Holy Book is on the alter in Masonic Lodges in the Middle east.

    I am thanking you in advance for your assistance with this information."
  2. cemab4y

    cemab4y Premium Member

    I have attended lodges in several middle eastern countries. (I have been working in Iraq/Afghanistan for the last five years).

    In Saudi Arabia, the Holy Bible and the Holy Qu'Ran are placed side by side on the altar. Saudis are not permitted to participate in Freemasonry. The lodges operating in Saudi, are primarily for the Americans and other foreigners, who work in the oil industry.

    In Iraq/Afghanistan, the lodges that operate on the military bases, are primarily for the military and US civilians who live on the bases there. The Holy Bible, alone, is placed on the altar, as the VSL.

    Masonry is a non-denominational, non-sectarian organization, that draws its members from many of the world's great religions. Therefore, each individual mason will draw inspiration and guidance from the religion of his choice.

    In some countries, the VSL is the Holy Bible. In some countries, there will be one or several VSL's. In Singapore, there are nine (9) different VSL's on the altar. The sayings of Confucius, The writings of Buddha, the Zend-Avestas, the Holy Bible, and other sacred books are all present.

    I live in the Washington DC metro area. I once attended a lodge in Washington DC, and I assisted a brother Mason, in taking his Fellow Craft oath, on the Holy Qu'Ran. I consider this experience, to be one of the high points of my Masonic career.

    I cherish Freemasonry. I cherish our magnificent tradition of religious tolerance, and religious freedom. I believe that as more Muslims and men from other faiths, continue to petition our lodges, we will see more and different VSL's on our altars.

    If you are interested in learning more about Freemasonry in the Middle East, please feel free to read my blog:

  3. Bro_Vick

    Bro_Vick Moderator Premium Member

    I just got back from Afghanistan, and the "military" lodges were all Prince Hall Associated, so I wasn't able to attend lodge, they were both in Kabul and Bagram that I knew of, they met once a week. The only true research I did on Freemasonry in the Middle East was on Freemasonry in Iran (which you can read about in my blog), in which the Grand Lodge of Iran was exiled and Freemasonry was outlawed in that country after the 1979 revolt.

    Thanks for the response, if I get anything back from the Grand Lodge of Lebanon I will post it.

    -Bro Vick

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