Protection to Muslims is offered by the Satanic Temple
The Minneapolis and San Jose chapters of the Satanic Temple, a national organization, are standing by local Muslims afraid of backlash after the Paris attacks. Muslims in Minneapolis and San Jose, California, are receiving support from an unlikely ally: the Satanic Temple. The Minneapolis and San Jose chapters of the national organization, which describes itself as a group that “facilitates the communication and mobilization of politically aware Satanists, secularists and advocates for individual liberty,” posted to their website and Facebook pages offering to protect local Muslims who might be experiencing backlash after last Friday’s terror attacks. “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,” the Minneapolis chapter’s Facebook post read. “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.” Since the Minneapolis chapter extended the offer on Wednesday, the Facebook post has been shared more than 2,700 times and has been “liked” by more than 3,000 people. The San Jose chapter posted the same thing to its Facebook page on Tuesday. Members of the Satanic Temple community say the gesture is not a ploy for publicity. “Our offer 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,” read a follow-up post on the Minneapolis chapter’s page. So far, no Muslims have taken the group up on its offer. “We are happy to be of service to our community. Unfortunately, we’ve had no takers as of yet,” Curt Landsman, a representative of the Minneapolis chapter, told International Business Times in an email. “We are doing this out of genuine care for our fellow men and women and not as a publicity stunt. We feel that statistically speaking, gun toting fundamentalist Christians are a much bigger threat than Muslims in our own community who have lived peacefully here for years.” Several Muslim commenters have responded with appreciation. “I don't live in Minneapolis, but as an American Muslim, I'm glad to see you guys take up this effort and help out a marginalized group. Thank you for doing this and building bridges between communities,” wrote one commenter on Facebook. Another commenter posted to the San Jose chapter’s page: “I am Muslim and thank you for your kind offer. It's really heartening and reflective of how humans should treat each other. You are a reflection of kindness.” One commenter worried that the gesture could backfire. “I hope it does not attract the wrong kind of attention from anti-Muslim religious fanatics,” she wrote on the Minneapolis chapter’s page. “That said I am glad that you were recognized for your kind gesture which is a lot more generous than from a lot of public figures who claim to be Christian.” Judging from the group’s name, it would be easy to assume members of the Satanic Temple worship, well, Satan. Not exactly, according to the group’s FAQ on its website: “It is the position of The Satanic Temple that religion can, and should, be divorced from superstition. As such, we do not promote a belief in a personal Satan. To embrace the name Satan is to embrace rational inquiry removed from supernaturalism and archaic tradition-based superstitions.” Landsman added that members strive to emulate Lucifer as an “outsider.” “We are duty bound to defend the liberties of those who have fallen prey to ignorance, unwarranted discrimination, and victimization by right wing xenophobia,” he said.