Homeland Security Targets Shriners as Terrorist Group
WASHINGTON, D.C. The Department of Homeland Security has taken the first official steps to place the Shriners, a fraternal organization that uses Arabian motifs in its costumes and rituals, on its "Specially Designated Nationals" list, a move that would severely circumscribe the group's activities in the U.S.
Department Secretary Janet Napolitano said the Shriners, whose official name is the "Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine," scored a perfect "100" on Homeland Security's "How to Spot a Terrorist Organization" secret decoder ring.
"First, they wear funny hats," she said. "Second, they claim to be a charity, as if we haven't heard that one before. Third, they are organized into local cells that lay dormant until ordered into action by a central authority. Fourth, they ride those little motor scooters and throw candy at children--even al Qaeda doesn't stoop that low."
A reporter raised his hand to ask a question, but Napolitano cut him off for one final item. "Did I mention the funny hats?"
The Shriners are known for their use of miniaturized motor vehicles in parades and for their Middle Eastern garb, particularly the fez, a tapering felt hat with a tassel that hangs from its crown. "Nobody wears those things in America except for organ grinders' monkeys," Napolitano noted.
Shriner officials denied any link to terrorism and said their charitable pursuits are genuine and not a front for illicit activities. "We are completely above-board, except with our wives," said Supreme Excellent Master of the York Rite Clinton Koehn, a chiropractor in Keokuk, Iowa. "They don't know about the beer kegs in the lodge basement."
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