WEATHER »
<b>LOTS OF LOVE:</b>  It was a celebratory night for attendees and councilmembers alike on Tuesday, as the Goleta City Council approved the Islamic Society of Santa Barbara’s long-awaited community center.

Paul Wellman

LOTS OF LOVE: It was a celebratory night for attendees and councilmembers alike on Tuesday, as the Goleta City Council approved the Islamic Society of Santa Barbara’s long-awaited community center.


Goleta Approves New Mosque

Islamic Society Celebrates Long-Awaited Community Center


Brendan Newlon may have said it best: “A Muslim, a Christian, and a Jew walk into a city hall …” Newlon, a religious studies PhD candidate at UCSB, wasn’t making a joke but a reference to the outpouring of interfaith support (including a representative of the Hindu community) that argued the case in favor of approving the Islamic Society of Santa Barbara’s community center to the Goleta City Council Tuesday night.

After an hours-long hearing that featured no public opposition, the council unanimously gave the project the go-ahead, an approval more than a decade in the making that brought tears and cheers to the councilmembers and the 100-plus attendees. “All of us made history today,” said Jamal Hamdani, the chair of the Islamic Society of Santa Barbara (ISSB). “I am truly proud to be an American, a Muslim, and a member of this community.”

The 10,000-square-foot community center ​— ​which will include, in addition to a prayer area, a library, dining room, and lecture hall ​— ​is slotted for the corner of Los Carneros Road and Calle Real, a property the ISSB purchased in 2001. The space will be the first permanent place of worship in the county for the Muslim community, which has been meeting for prayer in the Goleta Valley Community Center.

With the council’s green light (it was also okayed by the city’s Planning Commission on 11/25), the ISSB hopes to have its permit by early summer, said society cofounder Mukhtar Khan. Councilmember Ed Easton, who has held various leadership positions since in the Good Land, was touched by the turnout. “We’ve never had a meeting like this in City Hall,” he said. “This is amazing. This is amazing.”

To submit a comment on this article, email letters@independent.com or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email tips@independent.com.



event calendar sponsored by:

Santa Barbara Rental Prices Have Skyrocketed Over the Last Five Years

The average rent for a South Coast studio is $1,553.

Trio Stops the Show at Board of Education

More than a dozen appeal to Santa Barbara Unified School District to maintain music classes and programs.

Santa Barbara District Attorney Endorses Villaraigosa for Governor

Joyce Dudley preferred the former Los Angeles mayor’s positions on crime and education.

San Marcos Principal Files Suit Against Santa Barbara Unified School District

Ed Behrens charges emotional and physical distress due to demotion.

City Water Use Hits 1958 Levels

Population was twice today's; revenue close to falling short of expenses.