Thank you for the opportunity to submit questions and receive answers. I am 27 years old man who is living in Munich, Germany.
Although nationality or religion does not matter, just for more information I share that I am coming from west of Afghanistan and it is about 10 years that I believe in Jesus Christ as my savior.
I am looking to find a wise solution about my journey with Freemasonry so I feel open to share some issues with you. I see myself responsible to myself, my family, my community and country. My social position and economic status is at a high level in my country. I am a political refugee that for the sake of his live has been forced to leave his country. In German society I am known as a refugee.
However, a political refugee would not accept defeat. I respect the laws of Germany and it’s not my goal to stay in Germany forever. Time is gold, I want to continue my education that allows me offer a better serve to myself and those around me. Finally returning to Afghanistan, and serving my country.
After in-depth studies I realized that the best type of education for me is education of Freemasonry. Here are many positive reasons on the table Why I’ve chosen Freemasonry.
On the first of February I sent an email to an English speaking Lodge which is located in the state where I live and I asked them to help me with information and guidance about how to be a formal Freemason. But I did not receive any response till now.
Now the question is; can really a refugee become a Freemason? If I had to do it in Afghanistan, was there a way to join Freemasonry?
“...west of Afghanistan” would be Iran or Turkmenistan, yes?
Every grand lodge (in the case you are mentioning, Germany) has its own standards, its own rules. Generally speaking, you have to have lived in the jurisdiction for a set time (in my area, a year) before you can apply. As well, a man cannot be acccepted unless he is law-abiding, which would probably be a bar to illegal immigrants as they have technically committed a crime by entering without formal permission.
That said, I would ne surprised if there was a rule requiring citizenship. A legal resident, all other things being equal, should be eligible. Of course. You would need to check local regulations.
If you’ve been admitted to Germany as a refugee, then you probably meet the residency requirement (although you might have to reside there for a certain amount of time first, perhaps a year). Refugees are legal residents. That’s all that matters.
German Freemasonry is a bit unusual, there are five regular Grand Lodges all recognized under the banner of United Grand Lodges of Germany (VGLvD). The five may have different rules on the residency requirements. If you don’t meet the requirements of one, you might meet the requirements of another. And once you’ve joined one, you can visit the lodges of the others.
My advice to you is that when you reach out to a lodge, don’t muddy the waters by talking about being a refugee. As you may have noticed, some people don’t seem to understand what that means and wrongly believe it gives you less than legal status when that is not the case. Your refugee status will probably come up in the conversation as you get to know the members of a lodge and they get to know you, but you don’t have to immediately disclose it up front when you email them. There will be a proper time to discuss those matters. It should be done in person where it’s easier to clear up the misconceptions, not over email.
Because of the unusual nature of your Resident status in Germany you will need to contact the Grand Lodge not a “local” Lodge to find out if it will accept your status for membership.
However, I would highlight that I saw nothing in your post that would make me think you actually wanted to become a part of this fraternity. What will you bring to your Lodge, if you were to be considered for membership?
...German Freemasonry is a bit unusual, there are five regular Grand Lodges all recognized under the banner of United Grand Lodges of Germany (VGLvD). The five may have different rules on the residency requirements. If you don’t meet the requirements of one, you might meet the requirements of another. And once you’ve joined one, you can visit the lodges of the others…
And I will add to this in that at least one of these Grand Lodge systems (Grand Landlodge of the Freemasons of Germany [Große Landesloge der Freimaurer von Deutschland]) practice under the Swedish Rite which requires a following of the Christian faith. So if you are not Christian then you may want to look at one of the other remaining Grand Lodge systems.
Me and my family entered into Germany in 06.11.2015 with tips and help of human rights organizations and went to German police office in the first day. Therefore I have a completely legal residency requirements in Germany. It should also be noted that I have no criminal experiences or cases in Germany and my own country. (I always try to be a law-abiding as I am a student of law.)
West of Afghanistan would be Herat province which is close to Iran and somehow close to Turkmenistan too.
The Lodge I contacted (Bavaria Lodge No. 935) is Under the Jurisdiction of the American Canadian Grand Lodge AF&AM; e.V.(ACGL). In the email I sent to this Lodge (by their website), I did not raise any issue in relation to asylum and my refugee status.
Maybe I did something wrong. For example; At the top of the email I called them “Dear brothers” and I didn’t write the Freemason with capital “F”. In any case, please let me know.
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I will take a look to find some information about [Große Landesloge der Freimaurer von Deutschland], I hope their speaking language would be English.
I want to become a part of this fraternity because it was God’s plan for my life. I will bring my life, my heart, my mind and my future to my Lodge, if I was to be considered for membership. I want to do it all with loyalty and dedication. I will look for education and wisdom and will bring something that my Lodge is looking for it on me, in me or by me.
Your minor slips (such as addressing them as brothers) are just that - minor - and nothing which should have caused you a problem.
I would suggest that your best bet would be to contact the United Grand Lodges of Germany and ask them for contacts for any English-language lodges near you. Emser Straße 10, 10719 Berlin. Phone: +49 (0)30 8 61 47 96 • Fax: +49 (0)30 8 62 11 64.
Well, I think everything boils down to how you present yourself. Imagine you apply for a job, would you start your letter by “would you hire someone who is a refugee from Afghanistan?”. I mean if you start this way, you are not going too far.
My understanding is that you applied and was granted asylum in Germany a while ago. You are now a legal resident and a law abiding citizen.
You probably had tough time in the past, moved to Germany and applied for asylum there but there is no need to define yourself by this difficult episode of your life. Move on and describe yourself by what you are today.
Claiming asylum is not a crime. It’s a 100% lawful process.
See with the Grand Lodge in Germany. They probably have residency and/or citizenship requirement.
This forum is helping me to learn many things and it’s such a bless for me - Surely, I will follow the advises. I didn’t mentioned anything about my refugee status in both contacts. It just was a question in my mind and I received the current answers by everyone of you. I accept my mistake on making a wrong title for this subject.
After contacting the United Grand Lodges of Germany I will and am waiting for a Lodge to contact me.
I am happy for this opportunity that helps me to receive answers for my questions by real and accepted Masons.
One thing which just struck me. One thing expected is that an applicant needs to be self-supporting, lest they be joining solely for financial support. (No offense, I don’t know you or your situation and I agree with accepting refugees. If you are employed, that’s not an issue.
You raised an sensitive issue. I am not employed in Germany based on reasonable grounds. Most importantly, I must learn the German language to be hired for work and I am doing it. But I call myself self-supporting because I saved money which can provide my financial needs during my journey with Freemasonry – I mean I am able to pay the fees for my application and anything else which is related to this issue.
Yes he does; self-supporting just means that you have enough funds - either from income or savings, to pay you own way, always remembering that there are ongoing costs in the form of joining fee, annual subscription fees, charity donations (called ‘charity bag’ at meetings), dining fees, (possibly) building costs/rents (some lodges hire buildings, others own them - all of which need to be paid for by the members). The lodge would want to be sure you can cover your part without detriment to your family. If, at the moment, you are not employed, they may well question you closely as to the amount of your savings for these reasons and those mentioned by Bob.
To be honest, the unemployment is a more serious issue than your personal history of asylum seeking. To join FM, you must a self-sustaining member of the society and participating to the collective creation effort.
It’s not about paying dues. This dues are usually very low and don’t constitute a financial burden for anyone.
It’s not important where you work. In our lodges, you can find a CEO, sitting near a McDonald’s Cook. You can find Teachers, Cab Drivers, Doctors, Electricians, Accountants, Pilots, Police officers… etc. All honorable professions are represented and usually you don’t know who is who as our relationship is based on brotherhood not social ranking.
Has your asylum application been accepted in Germany or are you still waiting for a decision on your status?
I understand what you mean. As I said before, Me and my parents came to Germany at the same time in November 2015 and our interview was conducted individually. My interview was conducted in November 2016 and my parents, two months before me. They were given residence in accordance with the Geneva Convention at the end of January 2017 and I’m still waiting for a decision on my status.
Considering what happened to me in my country, evidences and Open Doors report about Afghanistan – There is no reason for the rejection of my stay in Germany. Even if such a funny thing happen – I can defend the legal right to asylum by the legal ways.
One of the reasons that attracted me is that Freemasonry is based on brotherhood not social ranking. As you may be informed that the German government have been taken political decisions upon which restrictions are made for social integration courses and work permit in the case of Afghan refugees. So I have to earn a degree in German language and for getting an English speaking job, I should wait until my license is issued.
Since I am in Germany, I did and do volunteer works for collaborating with missionaries with no material benefits, because it’s allowed for me to do.
Otherwise, I have specific professions, more than 10 years work experience as employee, CEO and investor in different companies and brands. I have also my certificates and my own resume.
I could also submit my request for membership in Freemasonry in 2018 after I fill this shortcomings, but as I said earlier, I’m looking for the correct use of time. So it was my main question; Can being a refugee make limits for my application in Freemasonry brotherhood. Is there flexibility?