Stories of Prince Hall & Mainstream interaction are popping out everywhere. And the beautiful aspect of it all is that there is great appreciation and joy at this intermingling. Brotherly love and affection prevail and every moral and social virtue cements Brothers of different traditions.
The Beehive reported recently the story of the Mainstream Grand Master of Michigan visiting a Prince Hall Lodge with many of his Michigan Brethren in “Bridging The Gap.” The latest example of this joyous cross visitation comes from a personal friend, Brother Tofique Fatehi from Mumbai, India. Brother Fatehi and I met on the Global Fraternal Network in the late 90s. Soon, thereafter, Brother Fatehi journeyed to Massachusetts to visit his son who is living here. When an opportunity to see the Paul Revere Colonial Degree Team perform in Southern Maine arose, Tofique took the opportunity to accompany us and see US Mainstream Masonry.
Tofique returned this fall for another family visit and got in touch with me to see about visiting a Prince Hall Lodge in Massachusetts. I turned him over to the capable hands of Worshipful Jim Bennette of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, another good friend who has a strong relationship with Massachusetts Prince Hall.
Tofique reports in the Global Fraternal Network newsletter:
While in Massachusetts I visited a PH Lodge in Boston. Bro. Fred Milliken (now in Texas) arranged for my introductions. I attended the Widow Son Lodge in Dorchester (South Boston).
Tofique reports that they rolled out the red carpet for him and he had a great time and was impressed by their ritual & knowledge.
All this goes to show that it is time now for all the old barriers to be taken down. We are in the second decade of the 21st century and the manner in which different races and cultures have heretofore interacted is a thing of the past. The future brings us all closer together in brotherly love and affection.
So let us all do our part to see that the state of Freemasonry in the world opens up into a celebration of its diversity and a new age of the expression of what Freemasonry truly exemplifies.
such a good news to hear about that i wait to see that of africa unveiling freemason. Mostly in my country nigeria alot of things are under secrecy which is not too good i wish i can find a lodge in my country where i reside. Mostly in my state, rivers state. I will be very very happy.
I liked this display of warmth and affection among the brethren cutting across an ocean of divisions amongst the human beings.
Nice to see your visit being covered..Great going Brother.
Trust your representation will continue to do us proud.
Buried by Zia, Freemasons now haunt Punjab govt
UMAIR AZIZ .Mall -90
Freemasons’ ‘Kothi Jadugar’, now known as 90-The Mall
LAHORE – Top government officials in Punjab are perturbed over a legal move by the Freemasons that can ultimately result in the loss of prime property currently under the possession of the Punjab government, Pakistan Today learnt on Friday.
The Freemasons, one of the most mysterious and controversial societies across the world, were banned in Pakistan by former president Ziaul Haq under the Martial Law Regulation (MLR) 56 in 1983, charging them of “anti-state” and “anti-Islam” activities and handing over their moveable and immoveable assets to provincial governments with immediate effect. In Punjab alone they possessed three prime properties: 90-The Mall (Lahore), 307 (Multan) and 1307 (Rawalpindi). At the time of partition, the estimated number of properties they possessed across Pakistan was around 30.
However, what happened during Ziaul Haq’s regime was the epitome of a long going controversy starting in 1973 when the Punjab Assembly passed a resolution against Freemasons declaring their activities “anti-state” and “anti-Islam”. The federal government also took Punjab’s lead while Khan Abdul Qayum Khan, the interior minister at the time, declared them innocent.
However, in 1973, the deputy commissioner of Lahore requisitioned 90-The Mall for the Islamic Summit for two months and the deputy inspector general (DIG) office was set up there as a makeshift arrangement, but the building was never returned even though the Lahore High Court (LHC) single and double bench decided in the Freemasons’ favour.
The government then moved the Supreme Court against the LHC verdict in 1978. Finally, Ziaul Haq took over and imposed a ban on the Freemasons, while in 1986 the Supreme Court decided that the issue was no more as the MLR 56 had been given legal cover under the 8th Amendment in 1985 and told the Freemasons to appeal at a “proper forum” in case of any grievances. Since the term “proper forum” has not been defined in any law, the Freemasons wrote to various high offices such as successive presidents and prime ministers, including both Nawaz Sharif and the late Benazir Bhutto, but did not receive any reply.
Finally in 1995, Freemason Kabir A Sheikh and five others filed a writ petition (8907/95) challenging the MLR 56, pleading that they were a philanthropist organisation while building their argument around the history and legal status of 90-The Mall, at the time under the use of Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif.
According to court records, Freemasons, all residents of the provincial capital, filed the writ petition through their counsel Dr Khalid Ranjha against the Punjab government, which was represented by the additional advocate general. During the course of the case, the Interior Ministry had also filed its comments on the issue saying that the available material showed the Freemasons were involved in “anti-state” and “anti-Islam” activities, to which Freemasons submitted an affidavit declaring that they practiced Islam as a religion and their beliefs were similar to common Muslims.
Interestingly, however, the revenue records dating back to the 1950s and 1960s show the building now named 90-The Mall mentioned as “Kothi Jadugar” (Sorcerer’s House). The Freemasons had also won a case under the Corporation Act claiming the building in question had been declared a “temple”.
Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia have also banned the organisation because of its controversial nature. Worldwide, Freemasons are famous for their secret rituals and for constructing buildings which supposedly have secret symbols inscribed into their architecture. Few other international organisations are surrounded by as much controversy as the Freemasons.
There are 33 degrees of Freemasonry, while the ones who have filed the writ petition are ‘Masters’ and ‘Past Masters’, Freemasons of the 4th and 5th degree respectively.
This has created a lot of anxiety among top government officials in the Punjab Civil Secretariat owing to the gravity of the situation as well as the mystery surrounding Freemasons, especially given that the next date of the hearing in the LHC is December 30.
Many top officials have ordered books on Freemasonry from abroad to study their history and symbols and what they stand for, while a lot of rumours are making rounds in the corridors of power regarding the probable future of the prime offices under the possession of the Punjab government because if the court gives a verdict against the MLR 56, it would ultimately result in the Punjab government having to hand over all property back to the Freemasons.
It was very entertaining to read all the news and comments.
Tofique Fatehi is well known in Masonic Circle not only in India but in the Continent
and distant places. wish him many years of Masonic activities with his masonic friends in his native place as well as abroad.
V W Bro. M M Amalsadvala
Such visits strentghs the Mystic Tie
that binds us. It also shows the Universality of the Craft.
In addition to my last comment of Dec 2011, I was indeed happy to note the visits Bro. Tofique Fatehi undertakes to Various Lodges around the globe which strengthen Masonic Circle throughout the universe.
The visits to PH Lodge in Boston & Widow Son Lodge in Dorchester (South Boston) is one case out out of very many visits Bro. Tofique Fatehi has undertaken to various Lodges. His knowledge on Masonic subject is voluminous. His Sunday Emails to Brethren on various Masonic Topics is educative and He strives to give still better results thus enlightening the minds of ever Masonic reader. God Bless.