Who are the Shriners?
They support what has been called the “World’s Greatest Philanthropy” -- Shriners Hospitals for Children, a network of 22 pediatric specialty hospitals operated and maintained by the Shriners. All children, 18 years and younger, may be eligible for treatment at Shriners Hospitals; eligibility is not based on financial need or relationship to a Shriner. Shriners often help arrange and pay for transportation for children and parents to go to the hospitals; some drive families themselves.
Shriners will be found participating in local parades, marching and sometimes riding in miniature sports cars, trucks, and fire engines; performing in an “Oriental” band dressed in Middle Eastern costumes or pipe and drum units, and, of course the family Shriner clown units.
Despite its Middle-Eastern theme and Moorish architectural motifs, the Shriners are not connected to Islam. The only religious requirement is that all Shriners must profess a belief in a Supreme Being.
While Shriners are men, there are two companion organizations, Ladies’ Oriental Shrine and Daughters of the Nile. They also support the Shriner Hospitals and share in activities like the clown units.