The Literary Club (al-Muntada al-Adabi) (1909)

From The Arab Awakening, George Antonius, G P Putnam's Sons, 1946.

A literary society, al-Muntada al -Adabi  was an association founded in Constantinople in the summer of 1909 by a group of officials, deputies, men of letters and students, to serve as a meeting place for Arab visitors and residents in the capital. Its club house was equipped with a library and a hostel, and it did become the busy and useful center it was intended to be. The Committee of Union and Progress (C.U.P.) tolerated it, and for a time gave it their patronage, since its objectives were not avowedly political. In actual fact, it exerted a good deal of political influence, and there came a time when its committee became the recognized intermediary in the negotiations for the settlement of differences between the Arabs and the C.U.P. But its function was essentially that of a clearing house rather than a factory of ideas, and its contribution to the Arab movement was more to strengthen its appeal and extend its reach than to give it a new impulse. It had an enormous membership running into the thousands of whom the majority were students , and it established branches in various towns of Syria and  Iraq,. Not the least of its uses was that it provided centers in which Arabs from all parts of the Empire felt at home and talked freely in an atmosphere in which minds relaxed and the traffic of ideas could move.

Among the membership were Abdel Karim al Khalil (Muslim from Mt Lebanon), Saleh Haidar (Muslim from Baalbeck), Rafiq Salloum (Christian from Homs),  Saifuddin al-Khatib (Muslim from Damascus), Jamil Husaini (Muslim from Jerusalem), Yusuf Mukhaiber (Muslim from Baalbeck).

All but the last two were hanged by the Turks during World War I on a charge of treasonable nationalistic activities.