Illustrious Grand Conservator General, King Hussein bin Talal 33/90/95 Freemason

In the Middle East there has often existed a double standard where the ruling class could practice Freemasonry in secret, while still enforcing a ban on Freemasonry in their country to appease the clerics as well as the fundamentalists and extremist parties.  There are certain Prime Ministers and Presidents who currently engage in Masonic activity in private, usually clandestinely and sub rosa, other times out of the country entirely, just as Arafat and King Hussein did at one time.  Multiple diplomats and businessmen and academics from Islamic countries, belong to lodges under the GLNF where their membership can be kept private, as it is often a matter of life or death.  There are lodges in Saudi Arabia, including at least one on a military installation.  There are lodges in Morroco, and Lebanon currently has more Grand Lodges and Grand Orients than one can keep up with.

The world of Freemasonry in Islamic countries is not easily penetrated by researchers who rely solely upon the internet search engine for their gathering.  One must be more resourceful than this.  Submersion into the experiential is necessary in order to pierce the veils of Islamic countries where lodges such as the one a group of Army Rangers kicked the door down on in Baghdad in 2003, operate in secrecy.  There is a Masonic Lodge still working in Cairo for instance, but still we see the public arguments on internet forums where those who are far removed from the underground World of Freemasonry in the Middle East, are busy insisting that such things do not exist simply because there is an official ban and/or citing the lack of a website to validate such things.

It may interest such parties to know that  King Hussein (1935-1999) was initiated into the mysteries of Freemasonry on  May 17, 1959 in Amman Jordan.  The Worshipful Master for the degree was Most Worshipful Hanin Kottini who was the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Lebanon and Honorary Grand Master of the Grand Orient of Italy. Then, King Hussein was again initiated on October 20th, 1963 in Amman during a private ceremony arranged by W.Bro Jan Onderdenwijngaard, an influential Dutch Freemason who was active in Jordan and Past Master of Lodge Via Lucis no. 161, the Hague, under the Grand Orient of the Netherlands.  Onderdenwijngaard passed on in 1973 after a distinguished and yet at times tumultuous career in the craft where he straddled both sides of the fence of regularity.  King Hussein went on to pursue an active membership in the Grand Lodge of Lebanon and Arab speaking Countries, and he subsequently became the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Jordan. He also joined the Grand Orient of Italy's Sovereign Sanctuary of the Ancient and Primitive Rite of Memphis-Mizraim Rite.

A select portion of the King's masonic regalia is on display in the small museum at Palazzo Vitelleschi in Rome, including a mallet that King Hussein had originally donated to the Sovereign Grand Commander & Grand Master Giovanni Ghinazzi.