Group Planning Goleta Mosque Receives Hate Mail, Requests Police Protection at Meetings

After receiving a large quantity of hate mail regarding a proposed mosque in Goleta, the City of Goleta is now requiring police presence in all city meetings discussing the building proposal.

The planned mosque, which would be located on Los Carneros Road and Calle Real, has been in the works for more than ten years. A discussion on building design and landscapes with the Goleta Design Review Board will be held tomorrow at 3 p.m. at 130 Cremona Drive in Goleta.

UCSB’s Muslim Student Association President Omar Jishi said the mosque will bring the city diversity as well as a spacious place for the Muslim community of Goleta to attend Friday prayer.

“For Friday prayer we go to the Goleta Valley Community Center, [but] we really don’t have space there for Fridays because usually Friday prayers are a lot larger than regular prayers,” Jishi said. “[This mosque] is very important because we don’t have the prayer space; we have a sizable community and it requires prayer space.”

According to UCSB’s Korea Campus Crusade for Christ member Jeff Kim, the ISSB should not have to face so much opposition to build the mosque.

“I feel horrible for them because we shouldn’t have to deal with this anymore and I think it’s really ridiculous and inhumane how they’re sending hate mail,” Kim said. “They’re building it for the purpose of having a place of worship for Muslims so I honestly respect that. They can choose to believe in whatever they want; it’s not like they’re disturbing anyone.”

Jishi said critics were inevitable, but he hopes people realize that there are far more supporters.

“There’s obviously going to be opposition for a project like this,” Jishi said. “It shouldn’t be an impediment or have to force community leaders to rethink the mosque, and there are more supporters than those who aren’t for it.”

Third-year biology major Ramiro Medina said regardless of political tensions between the U.S. and some Islamic republics, the local community needs to honor their fellow citizens’ freedom of religion.

“I know of the unrest going on in the Middle East towards America right now but that shouldn’t be reason to justify protest of this mosque,” Medina said. “I’m sure there are several UCSB students who are pleased at having a mosque nearby where they can actively practice their religion.”

The mosque is planned to be completed sometime in 2013.