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Rotary is a Masonic Jewish organization of business and professional leaders that claims to provide humanitarian service to improve human relations, encouraging high ethical standards in all vocations and building goodwill and peace in the world.
Rotary is an English word derived from "rotation". The organization was named as such because meetings were held in members' houses or offices by rotation. The presidency of the organization is still assumed by members by rotation as well. The clubs have chosen a distinctive emblem, which is a "gear wheel" in two colors, golden and blue, with 24 cogs and six golden spokes within the circle. Each two opposite sides constitute a diameter within the circle of the gear. They all constitute three diameters that cross in the center. When the starting point for each diameter is connected to the ends of the other two diameters, this constitutes the six-pointed star, surrounded by the two English words "Rotary" and "International".
The golden and blue colors are of the Jews' sacred colors with which they decorate the roofs of their monasteries, temples and Masonic lodges. These two colors are now the colors of the flag of the member states of the European Common Market.
Foundation and leading figures:
• On 23 February 1905 C.E., the attorney Paul Harris founded the first Rotary club in Chicago, Illinois. This was three years after he had spread his idea which was accepted by some people. Sylvester Schiele (coal merchant), Gustav A. Loehr (mines engineer), Hiram E. Shorey (tailor merchant) and Paul Harris (attorney) are considered the founders of the Rotary movement and the builders of its intellectual principles after a series of recurrent periodic meetings. Their first meeting was held in the same place where the Rotary Club, Chicago 177 today, was later founded.
• Three years later, Shirley Berry joined the organization and rapidly expanded the movement. He remained as a secretary of the organization until he resigned in 1942 C.E.
• In 1947 C.E., Paul Harris (the founder) died after the movement had spread in 80 countries, with 6800 clubs and 327,000 members.
• In 1911 C.E., the movement moved to Dublin in Ireland, and then spread in Britain through the efforts of Mr. Morrow, who was paid a commission for each new member.
In the Arab world, the history of Rotary was connected to three phenomena:
- Western colonialism in terms of inception and the majority of its members.
- The aristocratic classes and those who had influence and money.
- Comprehensive and general activity in entire Arab world, directly or indirectly.
• In the 1930s, Rotary clubs were founded in Algeria and Morocco under the supervision of French colonialism. There are now many clubs and branches in different places and cities of the Arab world.
Ideas and beliefs:
• Not regarding religion or the difference in country of origin as a criterion in choosing a member, or in the mutual interaction among members. The Rotary claims that it is not concerned with religious or political matters. The Rotary is not allowed to express an opinion on any controversial public issue.
• Rotary clubs teach their members the list of the equally recognized religions in alphabetical order: Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Judaism, Mohammedanism and Taoism.
• Religion being disregarded, this protects the Jews and secures them easy penetration into all walks of life. This is clarified through the necessity that each club must have at least one or two Jewish members.
• One should do good deeds without waiting for any material or moral reward. This is indeed against the religious perception which connects doing voluntary good work to the double reward from Allaah The Almighty.
• There is a weekly meeting; and the member's attendance rate should not be less than 60 percent per year.
• Membership is not available for all people. Rather, one should wait for the club's invitation for joining, according to the principle of selection.
• Classification is based on the main profession. There are 77 professions.
• Workers are deprived of the club's membership, and only those who occupy high positions are chosen.
• They try to have a balanced age level among the members and nourish the organization with new blood by attracting young members.
• There must be a representative for each profession. It is possible, however, that this rule is violated in order to have a desirable member or exclude an undesirable one. The third paragraph of Article IV of the Constitution of the Rotary International is as follows:
There should be no more than one member of each profession with the exception of the categories of religions, media and the diplomatic corps, with taking into account the provisions of the bylaws for the additional active members.
• The Board of Directors for each club must have one or two of the club's former heads, who are the heirs of the Rotarian secret which descended from Paul Harris.
• Charles Marden, who was a member for three years in one of the Rotary clubs, conducted a study about the Rotary and he deduced some facts including:
- Among each 421 members of the Rotary Clubs, there are 159 members who belong to Freemasonry, and this means that they are more loyal to Freemasonry than to the club.
- In some cases, membership of the Rotary was limited to the Masons, as it was the case in Edinburgh, Britain, in 1921 C.E.
- In Nance loges in France, in 1881 C.E., the following was reported, "If the Masons constitute an association along with others, they must not let it be led by others. The effective officials must be Masons and the association must act according to their principles."
- Rotary Clubs become very popular and their activities are strengthened when the Masonic movement weakens or becomes dormant. That is because the Masons transfer their activities to the clubs until the pressures end and then resume their former status.
- The Rotary was founded in 1905 C.E. during the period when Freemasonry was active in America.
- There are several clubs that intellectually and methodologically resemble the Rotary, which are: the Lions, Kiwanis, Exchange, Round Table, Pen and B'nai B'rith (Sons of the Covenant). These clubs work in the same way and for the same purpose with some slight modification to create many means to spread ideas and attract supporters and followers. There are visits exchanged among these clubs. In some cities there is a council for the clubs' heads in order to coordinate with each other.