The Google daily news summary for August 29, 2008 was
Thinking, sadly, that this might be another name to add to our "Black Sheep" listing of Masons who've achieved notoriety for their misdeeds, we quickly went to the link where a long story included this:
"The tip led police on Aug. 20 to stake out the Air Park Road office building leased to Muhammad. It is home to his business, The Invisible Men Entertainment, and the Al Nuir Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masonry. Muhammad, a Brooklyn, N.Y., native, is grandmaster of the lodge, according to its Web site."
There seemed to be something wrong with this and, sure enough, it led to a VERY interesting scam involving another COUNTERFEIT/FAKE MASONRY!
Styling itself "The Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the State of South Carolina" and elsewhere, often omitted, Al Malik Grand Lodge, this group was apparently begun on the internet at the domain of thegrandlodgeofsc.org in March, 2007 by Rashad Muhammad, the individual named in the arrest from the Charleston Post Courier story. (There are some VERY unflattering comments from the police there about the duplicity involved - something that this 'Fake Masonry' only serves to underline.) In January, 2008, Mr. Muhammad created a website for his own Supreme Council, Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry of the Southern and Western Hemisphere, Inc. and not long afterwards, decided that his Grand Lodge needed at least one lodge in it so created a web site for them too, co-opting the phrase used by regular/recognized Freemasonry: "Making good men better". We also found it quite interesting that their 'Famous Masons' page was illegally stolen from THIS VERY WEBSITE (masonicinfo.com) in violation of copyright laws - but that may be the least of Mr. Muhammad's problems at this point!
The internet trail, though, got even more bizarre leading to such interesting things as the following:
On the left is a picture of Rashad making North Charleston, South Carolina Mayor R. Keith Summey an honorary member of their lodge, something we'll bet the Mayor is not too very pleased with at this point. Still think that ignoring 'fake Masonry' is the best thing to do, folks?
Just a couple of months ago was their GOLF TOURNAMENT. The flyer on the right was displayed prominently on Rashad's business website and shows lots of Masonic emblems. It also, as you can see, notes that this is "The South Carolina Grand Lodge of Ancient Free & Accepted Masons" - which, to most, would be 'the Masons. Unfortunately, though, like other 'fake Masonry' groups, phraseology used throughout the United States is slightly different for the regular/recognized group in South Carolina where the Grand Lodge is styled "Grand Lodge of South Carolina, AFM" www.scgrandlodgeafm.org and the Prince Hall Grand Lodge is styled "M.W. Prince Hall Grand Lodge of F&AM of the State of South Carolina" www.mwphglsc.org/
Something else that caught our eye about this event, though, was the claim that: "Proceeds from this event will be donated towards The Clifford & Bessie Hazel Cancer Foundation and The International Order of the Tarik Guard. The CBC foundation and the Tarik Guard are both (501)(c)(3) non-profit organizations that service/benefit the low country. The prime objective of the Clifford & Bessie Hazel Cancer Foundation is to help eradicate cancer by helping give relief to those whose lives have been impacted by Cancer. The CBC Foundation offers services such as cancer prevention seminars, free screening, counseling and additional relief to families affected by this dreadful disease. The Order of the Tarik Guard is an Organization dedicated to preparing young men to lead successful, happy, and productive lives. Basing its approach on timeless principles and practical, hands-on experience. The Tarik Guard opens doors for young men aged 12 to 21 by developing the divine consciousness within ones self partnered with the personal responsibility and leadership skills so vitally needed in society today. The OTG is an organization designed to build character in young men by helping them grow and mature into competent, contributing and caring leaders in our ever increasing global society. The OTG combines this serious mission with a fun approach that builds important bonds of friendship among its members nationwide."
Really? Well, maybe we just missed that 'Tarik Guard' group which sounds pretty much like the International Order of DeMolay (except the 'divine consciousness' hoohey). What does Google show? NOTHING - except links to Al Nuir's website. OK. So maybe nevertheless they are 501(c)(3) organizations. Supporting youth through donations: who would lie about a thing like that, huh? (Hint: THIS fake Masonry group!) Try entering their names into the Internal Revenue's charity database and see for yourself. You should also check their Addendum list to see if they are listed there. We did - and they're not. Perhaps someone might want to mention that to the IRS? Or, perhaps, another 'make-believe Masonry' has been using Freemasonry's name and symbols for their own enrichment. If you've taken a tax deduction on your golf game, folks, time to scratch that one!
And in case you missed in the newspaper article:
So here we are....
An individual of dubious past, establishes a bunch of Masonic organizations and defrauds people into thinking they're contributing to charities. Where have we seen this occur before? Pick some of the groups in the navigation on the right and you'll come to one before long....
And if you're one of those Masons who says, "Let's just ignore those who aren't Masons but pretend to be....", perhaps you could drop me a note and tell me how you enjoy having Freemasonry's name tied up with a man like this because we didn't speak out.
Legal wrangling and more
More than two years later, a trial still has not yet occurred - while the news reports continue to use the word "Masonic" which tars all regular/recognized lodges. You can read an April 18, 2011 story here. This is just one more example of why we take such a strong position against these bogus entities.
Page created 29 August 2008 and updated 18 April 2011.
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