ST. PETERS, Mo. — In the somber hours following the murders of 50 people inside two New Zealand mosques, a gun store half a world away in St. Peters, Missouri, polled its followers on how they felt.
The two options for answers: a "horrible tragedy" or “[expletive] great.”
"Anybody who says that mass murder of men, women and children is great, I think they have to check their humanity,” said Faizan Syed, the executive director of the Missouri chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
He said the reaction in the Muslim community here was immediate.
“After that poll came out, people were calling me asking for real estate agents because they wanted to move out of St. Peters because they didn't feel safe,” he said.
He and two others spoke out against the poll at Thursday's city council meeting, highlighting St. Peters diversity and inclusion.
The owner of the gun store told 5 On Your Side he apologized to Syed, saying the poll was a poorly worded reaction to earlier Facebook comments from the store's fans who posted the attack was great.
"We have never condoned violence or terrorism against any people no matter race, religion or political beliefs," he said in a statement to 5 On Your Side.
The owner said he and his family are now receiving death threats.
Both sides are planning to meet to find common ground in the next couple of weeks.