Omar Jubran kneels in prayer at the Islamic Center of Santa Clarita Valley in Santa Clarita on July 15, 2016. Omar Jubran kneels in prayer at the Islamic Center of Santa Clarita Valley in Santa Clarita on July 15, 2016. Nikolas Samuels/The Signal

SCV: A place of tolerance and safety for Muslims

Article from http://www.signalscv.com/section/36/article/156048/ by Nikolas Samuels

J.D. Hall is a Muslim who leads services at the Islamic Center of Santa Clarita Valley. When traveling around the area, he knows he is going to attract more attention.

Hall dresses entirely in a cultural, white garb as well as wears a traditional Muslim headdress.

“But no one treats me badly,” says Hall.

He and other Muslims in the area consider the Santa Clarita Valley and Los Angeles County a bastion of tolerance and safety for Islam.

Those of Muslin faith have reportedly experienced growing Islamophobia since 9/11.

Confrontations between Muslims and others living in America have still been occurring around the country such as when an Imam and his assistant were gunned down after afternoon prayers on Aug. 13 in Queens, New York.

These confrontations are non-existent in the SCV community according to Mohammed Kaamoush, the president of the Islamic Center of the Santa Clarita Valley. In fact, Muslims here seek to distance themselves from the radicals that incite fear in Americans and several other nationalities across the world.

“(Terrorists) may be Muslim but they are not practicing Islam in the right way,” says Hall. “You never start a war. That is the principle of Islam.”

Omar Jubran reiterated this idea during his sermon on July 15 at the Islamic Center of Santa Clarita Valley. He explained that Islam is a religion of peace and it is the duty of Muslims to educate others about what Islam is really about.

He expressed his frustration that peaceful Muslims who practice Islam the right way become associated with the radicals who have lost sight of what Islam represents.

“Those things are stuck on us, label after label after label,” he says. “If you waste one life, it is as if you have killed all of human kind.”

Jubran also shares the same sentiment as Hall regarding his treatment in the Santa Clarita Valley and surrounding area.

“I feel like I belong here,” he says. “This is where we live.”

Kaamoush is another Muslim who has found only tolerance and acceptance in the Santa Clarita Valley. He has lived here for 30 years and says he never has had a bad experience in the Santa Clarita Valley. His kids go to school here and have all non-Muslim friends.

“I am part of this community,” he says.