ST. PETERS, Mo. – An online poll conducted by a St. Peters tactical gear and gun parts business has disheartened members of the local Muslim community.
Shortly after the deadly mass shooting at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, the local company condemned the killings of dozens of the innocent victims but soon found that some of its social media followers took offense to the condemnation.
The tactical store said its admin used wording from some of their followers’ responses, which included asking if anyone thought the killings were “(expletive) great.” Approximately 15 percent of respondents indicated they thought the killings were “(expletive) great.”
“Most of our followers felt the way we did. That it was a horrible tragedy and a terrorist attack on innocent people,” the company said in a statement.
Their statement also read, “The admin disclaimed that this was not at all our opinion as a company. What the admin failed to get across was the fact that these were direct quotes from readers of the news article post.”
“When I first saw that poll, I was totally heartbroken,” said Faizan Syed, executive director of the Missouri Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
Syed attended the St. Peter's Board of Aldermen meeting on Tuesday along with two Muslims who live in St. Peters. They expressed appreciation for how welcoming the community has been and also expressed concern over the results of that online survey.
“This poll did reveal that there is at least a small population of people who think that mass atrocities and terrorist attacks are okay and actually welcomed and that’s the people we need to start talking to and the people we need to start changing,” Syed said.
Here is a full statement from the company that posted the poll:
“The poll was very poorly worded by one of our Facebook admin. It was a direct result of follower comments the night before on a news story we published about the horrific and tragic events in New Zealand. Most of our followers felt the way we did. That it was a horrible tragedy and a terrorist attack on innocent people.
“However, a larger than expected amount of readers commented that the event was ‘(expletive) great’ among other phrases. Our admin took the top comments from the FB news article comments section and created a poll using direct quotes from the comments section in attempt to ‘troll’ our audience to gain insight over how many people in our community actually felt this way.
“The admin disclaimed that this was not at all our opinion as a company. What the admin failed to get across was the fact that these were direct quotes from readers of the news article post.
“That tacticalsh*t we have never condoned violence or terrorism against any people no matter race, religion, or political beliefs.”