***Update – The Satanic Temple national leadership withdrew the offer of the help to Muslims issued by two of its chapters this weekend, details here.***
The Satanic Temple, an organization that advocates and promotes the separation of church and state, is offering to help Muslims caught in the wave of Islamophobia that has followed the Paris terror attacks, the Washington Times reports. Two chapters of the Satanic Temple, one in Minneapolis and the other in San Jose, have offered their protection and assistance to members of the Muslim communities in their local areas.
What manner of assistance is the Satanic Temple offering to provide? The offer of help seems to be pretty open-ended. Essentially, what the Satanic Temple has said is that the members of branches in San Jose and Minneapolis “would be happy to help any Muslims made uncomfortable by the recent surge in anti-Islamic sentiment.”
The San Jose chapter of the Satanic Temple was the first to offer assistance to Muslims living in their area. They posted their offer of assistance on their Facebook page on Wednesday, and the offer of aid was subsequently shared on Twitter as well.
It didn’t take long for the Minneapolis chapter to follow suit. The Minneapolis chapter of the Satanic Temple posted the same message on their social media, directed to the Muslims in their area. They followed up their offer with a follow-up post.
“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.”
The actions of the Satanic Temple come just following reports by Religion Dispatches that Americans’ perceptions of Islam have turned more negative over the past few years. According to a poll by The Public Religion Research Institute, nearly 56 percent of Americans participating in the 2015 poll agreed that Islamic values are “at odds with American values and way of life.” In 2013, only 47 percent of Americans agreed with the statement.
In recent days, the Satanic Temple realized that the perception and treatment of Muslims in the U.S. had gotten even more negative. In the wake of the recent terror attacks in Paris, anti-Muslim sentiment has grown steadily, particularly after ISIS claimed responsibility for the slaughter that took 132 lives and left 350 more injured.
So far, despite the generous offer of the Satanic Temple to provide assistance, no one has contacted either chapter to request aid. Even so, the responses by both the Islamic communities and those who are averse to stigmatizing people based upon their religion have been overwhelmingly positive, according to the International Business Times. In fact, many have taken to social media to show their appreciation.
The offer of the Satanic Temple chapters comes amid a week of governors all over the United States doing everything in their power to prevent Syrian refugees fleeing ISIS from resettling in their jurisdictions. The Mayor of Roanoke, Virginia, even went as far as to reference the shameful Japanese internment camps in the U.S. during WWII in a statement he wrote in an effort to keep Syrian refugees out of his area.
Unlike the Satanic Temple, many other prominent organizations and people have come forward decrying Islam. Donald Trump, for example, ruffled a lot of feathers when he suggested during a recent interview that he hasn’t ruled out requiring Muslim Americans to carry or wear special identification badges that identify their faith, Raw Story reports. While the Satanic Temple members are offering tolerance, equality, and even assistance to the Muslims in their communities, the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination has taken a page directly out of the Nazi’s handbook. Not only that, he’s proud of it, using anti-Muslim rhetoric to help his poll numbers.
“We’re going to have to look at a lot of things very closely. We’re going to have to look at the mosques. We’re going to have to look very, very carefully.”
The Satanic Temple also recently sent representatives to a high school football game in Washington state after the organization was invited to help protest a controversial Christian football coach who insisted upon praying on the 50-yard line following games, according to the Seattle Times. The dozen or so Satanic Temple members arrived in hooded black robes and were harassed by chants of “Jesus” upon their arrival. By the time the Satanic Temple had been invited by students to protest the coach’s prayers, which had continued despite the demands of school officials that they cease, the coach had already been suspended and spent the game in the stands. Members of the Satanic Temple left the game shortly after arriving.
[Image Courtesy Of MuseZack/Twitter/The Satanic Temple]