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An Islamic Center Comes to Santa Barbara
by Arnold Ahlert
The Islamic Society of Santa Barbara (ISSB) is determined to construct a 10,000-square ft. mosque in Goleta, CA. Their effort to do so began in 2001 when they purchased a parcel of land in Goleta, CA, a recently incorporated town in Santa Barbara County. That was followed by an application for construction filed by developers in 2003. In December 2013, the the Goleta City Council unanimously approved the project. "All of us made history today," ISSB Chairman Jamal Hamdani said at the time. "I am truly proud to be an American, a Muslim, and a member of this community."
The ISSB was founded in 1984 and according to its website it is a 501(c)(3) independent organization. Their ideological commitments include teaching the Qur'an and the customs of the Prophet Mohammed, and they insist their approach to Islam is one in which they will "educate and remind," rather than "compel, dictate, judge, or classify."
Yet there is a bit of disingenuousness attached to one of their statements: "Islam is a set of philosophical and spiritual outlooks; ISSB does not engage in political activities."
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