California: police presence at meeting after hate mail over proposed mosque

GOLETA, Calif. — Afaf Turjoman is a board member of the Islamic Society of Santa Barbara and says the society has been receiving hate mail recently regarding the mosque they have wanted to build in Goleta since 2001. “The letters were anti-Muslim. There is like Islamophobia up here. And there is no real merit.”

The hate mail was enough for the city of Goleta to have law enforcement officers present at a design review board last month and again at the next meeting on October 9th. Turjoman says she doesn’t know for sure if recent violence in the Middle East is the reason for the letters but the Islamic society took issue with the violence when it happened. “We released a statement that any violence that was done was something that we don’t condone.”

If the design review board meeting on October 9th goes smoothly, the plans will then be heard at a planning commission meeting. And despite all the bumps in the road, Turjoman remains confident. “Every year we say next year. We’re very hopeful and this has been going on for 11 years. Again, we’re very hopeful and optimistic that this is going to pass through within the next couple of months.”

KCOY, 2 October 2012