Although every person I have spoken to face-to-face in our new community has been wonderfully kind, it is hard not to lose faith in my new hometown based on Facebook comments posted on my recent news articles (specifically those covering local Muslims).
An open discourse is wonderful – even one that is contentious. Starting the conversations that fuel positive change is one main reason I am so enamored with my job as a journalist. But promotion of violence and property destruction are reprehensible.
Over the weekend, a confused landlord and another neighborhood couple (who wouldn’t speak to me) tossed hundreds of Quarans into the trash. This elderly landlord thought her Muslim organization tenants had moved into their new building and left their stuff behind.
This is the third article I have written about the Muslim community in Pocatello – an extremely small minority here.
While many were sympathetic and civil, other comments on the Journal’s Facebook page included:
- “I’ll bash any religion that has more respect for a book than human life.”
- “my opinion? who cares.”
- “It’s a book of hate anyways , they will get over it”
- “Probably a good place for them to end up.”
- “ISJ. Go kill yourself.”
- “Waaaaa! Cry about it!”
- “Why waste tax payers money investigating something that already belongs in the trash?”
- “Booo freaking hooooo!”
- “Where’s the real news stories at?”
- “Smores anyone????”
Normally this would not bother me or warrant a blog post. All of these people have the right to say these things and it is up to us as intelligent individuals to ignore the awful and build on the good. A year from now, these types of comments will again be white noise to me.
But I am also working on a story that asks why big businesses are not relocating to, and investing in, Pocatello. The simple (although incomplete) snapshot of our community given by these news article comments might hold part of the answer.