Santa Clarita Mayor Cameron Smyth delivers a speech as the seven panelists sit behind him at the Santa Clarita Community Forum: "Building Strength through Diversity" at the Centre on Saturday. Nikolas Samuels/The Signal
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someonePrint this pageShare on RedditShare on Google+

Stephen Winkler is an American Muslim who has lived in Santa Clarita since 1987. He wears a hat donning the American flag and a shirt promoting an American political party. By all accounts, he is an American,

Although, in those 30 years of living in Santa Clarita, he has noticed a marked decline in acceptance towards people of the Islamic faith.

“This is the lowest point (since 1987),” said Winkler.

Dispelling notions that have led to this political climate was the idea behind The Santa Clarita Community Forum: “Building Strength through Diversity” which was held at The Centre in Santa Clarita Saturday evening.

Seven panelists with varying perspectives on the topic and Santa Clarita Mayor Cameron Smyth were all present to share their views about the undue biases that are prevalent not just in Santa Clarita but throughout America.

“Our main goal is to reach out to the rest of the community…(and) try to dispel some of the notions that the larger community might have about Islam especially with what is going about terrorism,” said Majub El-Arabi of the Al-Umma Center of Santa Clarita Valley, which was one of three organizations which sponsored the event. ”

“Islam does not represent that, Islam is totally against (terrorism),” said El-Arabi.

Amira Buckley and Camilla Matouk look at the program for the Santa Clarita Community Forum: “Building Strength through Diversity” at The Centre in Santa Clarita on Saturday. Nikolas Samuels/The Signal

Over one-hundred, multi-cultural community members were present to hear the reality of what Islam represents—a religion of peace, as El-Arabi points out.

“It was incumbent upon us to reach out…and show the actual reality,” he said. “We are peace-loving U.S. citizens.”

The local Muslim community was inspired to hold this forum after President Donald Trump passed an executive order barring people from several Muslim Countries.

“What’s next? said El-Arabi. “It left a lot of room for imagination for the worse things that can happen.”

In fact Mayor Cameron Smyth was present to introduce a resolution “to reaffirm Santa Clarita’s commitment to a diverse, supportive and inclusive community.”

“While it doesn’t have teeth if you while, but it’s a message that we want people to feel comfortable here in Santa Clarita…regardless of your religion (and) ethnicity.” said Smyth in an interview with The Signal.
“You should feel safe here (and) you should feel comfortable here.”

He insists that both the institution of Santa Clarita and most of the community does not associate Islam with terrorism.

“An overwhelming majority of this community recognizes the distinction and knows that just because someone is of the Islam religion…doesn’t mean they condone or support any of the horrific terrorist crimes that you see.”

“There is a vast difference between those who practice their faith and radical terrorism.”

The Islamic Center of Santa Clarita Valley and Santa Clarita Interfaith Council also sponsored the event.

Kamal M.Al-khateeb, the moderator of the Santa Clarita Community Forum: “Building Strength through Diversity,” delivers a speech at the Centre on Saturday. Nikolas Samuels/The Signal



Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someonePrint this pageShare on RedditShare on Google+
By commenting, you agree to our terms and conditions.
  • Ilpalazzo

    >Islam does not represent that, Islam is totally against (terrorism)”
    FALSE. This is just taqqiya to deceive kafirs as Allah commanded

  • Nancy

    And yet six years ago Mr. Winkler wrote this: Maybe you should do a little more research before reporting

  • Patrick Wilson


  • Anthony Breznican

    From the comments here, it looks like some couldn’t even stop spewing hate for Easter.

    • Good

      What hateful comments? You are delusional.

      • Anthony Breznican

        Some were deleted, apparently. You just added some more. Takes real courage to spout hate from an anonymous account.

        • Good

          No honey, I just posted what happened, and the truth, something you don’t understand.

          • Anthony Breznican

            Who cares what an anonymous troll has to say? Folks like you used to wear white hoods to do the same work. Have a blessed night, nobody!

  • Mike Devlin

    Two words: Stephen Winkler

    • Good

      He was thrown off the school board for his dealings.

  • Good

    The Question was asked at this meeting, “What age was Aisha married to Mohammed?” The person who answered said, “She was 14 years old.” Now, we all know that she was six years old when Mohammed married her, and nine years old when he had intercourse with her (raped her). The fact that the leader of the Mosque and his constituents need to lie to the public like this and not answer questions accurately says that they are nefarious, and that people like Cameron Smyth and his wife are kissing their a*ses for votes. People of Santa Clarita need to be aware that this Mosque is associated with CAIR through an Ummah speaker they have at their congregation! CAIR is a terrorist organization. There were no Jewish panelists invited or asked to attend this propaganda fest either! Be Aware Folks. If they claim to be peaceful they refuse to recognize publicly that their is a problem, after a gentleman in the audience asked if they will denounce the 109 Verses of Violence, and openly make efforts to change and reform their belief in that part of their book. They became angered and triggered with each new question, and subsequently shut down the event. The Signal won’t tell you that!

  • Good

    It was also not advertised to the public, only by a flyer in the Library. It seems that the fact they held the meeting the day before Easter and during Passover says they are not serious about having a real dialog about peaceful interfaith interaction.