Friendly Satanists Offer Protection for Muslim Neighbors Afraid of Post-Paris Repercussions (UPDATE)
In cities across the United States, local Satanic temples are stepping up to make sure everyone in their communities feels safe.
Image via the Satanic Temple / Facebook
When it comes to loving thy neighbor, two Satanist groups are showing the world how it’s done—by pledging public support and protection to local Muslims who are uncomfortable or afraid to leave their homes in the tense, post-Paris atmosphere.
In messages posted on the Facebook pages for Satanist temples in San Jose, California, and Minneapolis, the groups offer to “escort you where you need to go without advertising our presence—just big dudes walking you where you need to be.” The Minneapolis temple expands on the offer on their website, writing:
Image via Wikimedia commons
“If there is anyone in the Minneapolis area who is Muslim and afraid to leave their home out of fear for some kind of backlash, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We would be glad to escort you where you need to go without advertising our presence—just big dudes walking you where you need to be. We would also happily accompany you so you can get some groceries. Our offer to the Muslims of the Twin Cities comes from a place of genuine compassion for our fellow human beings. It’s not to ride the tide of sentiment or capitalize on people for further name recognition. Let us know if you or someone you know need the sort of assistance we are offering. If you have contact with the Muslim community, make them aware of our service as well. They can contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org or our facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/tstmsp”
Since posting their offers earlier this week, both Satanist groups have been inundated with messages of support from well-wishers and those inspired by the gesture. Writes one commenter: “I'm a Transgender, Israeli Jew and if I were in Minneapolis I would take you up on this. Thank you for your kindness. What good people you are.” Says another: “What a lovely gesture! As a Muslim and a human, thanks dudes!” All told, the offers have racked up thousands of likes and shares across Facebook.
What remains to be seen, however, is whether the Muslim communities to whom the Satanist temples are reaching out will actually take the groups up on their offers. “We are happy to be of service to our community,” Minneapolis temple member Curt Landsman explained to the International Business Times. “Unfortunately, we’ve had no takers as of yet.”
Takers or not, the fact remains that in the wake of the Paris attacks, rhetoric regarding Syrian refugees—and, by extension, Muslim-Americans in general—has grown ugly in both tone and intent. Just this week, leading GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump voiced support for the idea of closing down mosques and appeared open to the possibility of requiring Muslims to wear special identification during his theoretical term in office. Meanwhile, Muslims around the country have been subjected to hateful accusations, been threatened with violence, and had Qurans vandalized, all part of a wave of anti-Muslim hate that has boiled over in the days since ISIS terrorists launched their assault on the French capital.
With that in mind, the Satanist groups’ offers of protection make perfect sense coming from a faith which—despite its demonic-sounding name—focuses on “encourag[ing] benevolence and empathy among all people, reject[ing] tyrannical authority, advocate practical common sense and justice, and be[ing] directed by the human conscience to undertake noble pursuits guided by the individual will.”
Satanists are not the only religious group to extend a hand of friendship toward Muslim communities of late. In Minneapolis—a city particularly affected by religious extremism—representatives from all three Abrahamic faiths—Islam, Judaism, and Christianity—came together to denounce the actions of ISIS as unrepresentative of Islam. And in New York, Muslims Against Hunger, along with the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding and the Brotherhood Synagogue, are preparing for an interfaith rally on Sunday. Entitled “We Refuse to Be Enemies,” the rally will reportedly feature imams, rabbis, and other interfaith leaders.
This is not the Satanic Temple’s first foray into civic engagement, either. According to its website, the group has also been “involved in a number of good works including taking a stand against the controversial and extremist Westboro Baptist Church, working on behalf of children in public school who have been subject to corporal punishment, and more.”
[via bring me the news]
UPDATE (11/20/15—4:05 PM)
In a message posted to both their Facebook pages and websites, both Satanic Temples appear to have rescinded their offers of protection, explaining simply:
A post was made earlier without the knowledge of The Satanic Temple. This post was removed because The Satanic Temple focuses its advocacy exclusively on broad ideals that affect everyone and only promotes campaigns that it can effectively execute. The Satanic Temple believes that all people should act with empathy within the bounds of reason.
Any further media requests should be directed to our national leadership.