Colo. Republican Ali Hasan Supports Ground Zero Mosque: ‘Muslims for Bush’ Founder Attacks Opponents As “Bigots”

Wealthy Colorado Republican health care scion, Muhammad Ali Hasan, wrote an op-ed in the Huffington Post Tuesday supporting the building of the controversial mega-Mosque next door to Ground Zero, the site of the  9-11 World Trade Center attacks.  Hasan, the founder of Muslims for Bush, sweepingly portrayed the project’s opponents as bigots:

I deeply support building this mosque. To my fellow conservative leaders who say they are against this project, yet claim to not be bigoted, I have news for you: you are a bigot.

Hasan, who now appears to be a blogger for the left-leaning Huff-Po, employs some logically specious arguments in trying to make his case for the mosque.  One, is that in addition to being a mosque, an entire  community center called the Cordoba House, which would include bookstores, a swimming pool, and other amenities, would be part of the development, and open to all.   Objection – relevance?

Even worse, is this  non-sequitur:

Shame on Republican leaders for criticizing such a fine project. After all, I believe many of these conservatives were the same leaders who supported the bailouts of 2008 and turned blind eyes to the book-cooking that kept companies like Enron in business?

Perhaps the founders of the Cordoba House should abandon the project, convert to Christianity, and invest their $100 million into a more modest building, closed to the public, that will instead house an oil company that cooks its books to reflect fake profits? History dictates that the same conservatives criticizing the Cordoba House project would probably give this new oil company a large bailout — provided that the good oilmen are white and Christian.

And Hasan has the hubris to cast stones at other Republicans for bigotry?  With imaginative economic reasoning like this, we should all be grateful to J.J. Ament for singlehandedly knocking Ali out of contention for Colorado Treasurer.

Can it be possible that fellow conservatives could agree that the First Amendment’s  free exercise of religion clause permits the mosque, are not bigoted, but think the mosque project shows poor judgment?  Yes and no, according to Hasan.

While Hasan finds himself unable to conjure up any legitimate basis for the opposition,  he acknowledges that his friend and mentor, Newt Gingrich, is not a bigot (nor is Sarah Palin).  How does Hasan explain Gingrich’s outspoken and well-argued opposition to the Cordoba mosque-mall project?  He doesn’t.  Nor does he bother to engage readers rhetorically by presenting the best arguments of the opposition, then  countering them.

That leaves me to present the other side for purposes of this post.  As I prefer the Newt Gingrich side of the debate, however,  I’ll present his argument and cut down Ali’s points instead.

First,  just because something is constitutional doesn’t make it sound.  The free speech clause, to use an example,  protects lots of nasty things, and I defend anyone’s legal right to say them or write them.   But would I support a politician who wanted to demonstrate in favor of racial segregation or who runs around burning flags?  Of course not.   Muslim leaders, including Hasan, should be using sound judgment,  appropriately  targeted to achieving their aims.  Instead, Hasan jumps aboard the left wing of the debate, and instead of providing  a compelling conservative argument,  simply draws on his own credentials  as a card-carrying Republican.

Gingrich pointed out on Fox News Tuesday night that Ground Zero is the most emotionally charged  locale in the country.  If the mosque developers wish to project a  message of tolerance and inclusion, Gingrich suggests a center featuring all three of the Abrahamic religions, not just Islam.  I wonder why Hasan fails to engage his mentor’s thought-provoking idea?

And I would be remiss if I ignored the elephant in the room (no pun intended).  Radical Islam certainly does not represent any but a small minority of Muslims in the U.S., but it is also a small minority of Muslims who speak out against radical Islam – very small.  And they can be quite sensitive about their own sensibilities, as exemplified with the Danish cartoon fanaticism.

So  picture this.  A site of mass casualties of Muslims somewhere in say, western Europe.  A Jewish group decides they’d like to open a synagogue next door.  How many cries for tolerance do we think we’d be hearing from Muslims about that one?

Ali Hasan has the potential to build better understanding of Islam among conservatives .  To do that effectively, however, he needs to speak in the same breath about the need for American Muslims to speak out,  or they will continue to receive the skepticism about their intentions with which they’ve been greeted so far.   Hasan might call that bigoted.  I call it reality.  He can’t reserve all his wrath for conservatives – especially with arguments as weak as those on display in the Huffington Post op-ed.

Hasan  is wasting his enormous potential as a man of persuasion and bridge building if he merely tosses rhetorical grenades at fellow conservatives in what seems more like pandering to leftist readers than a genuine attempt to win conservative hearts and minds.

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7 responses to “Colo. Republican Ali Hasan Supports Ground Zero Mosque: ‘Muslims for Bush’ Founder Attacks Opponents As “Bigots”

  1. Well said Laura. And I would add in this age of symbolism, Hasan is so entrenched or enslaved to his theocracy and money that he ignores the collective and personal healing of true loss. A true dick cheese and political scientist. He has no potential as a man.

  2. Re: the Cordoba House project.

    I would suggest that it is extremely imprudent, and will set back the cause of Islam in America twenty years. Historically, it has been a standard practice of Muslim invaders to construct mosques on holy sites of the predominant religions of the nations they have conquered. For instance, the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock are built on the Temple Mount, the holiest Jewish site in Jerusalem. Hindu sites were reportedly ravished, as well. http://www.flex.com/~jai/satyamevajayate/temple4.html. Accordingly, the act of building a mosque on Ground Zero can reasonably be perceived as saying, “We have conquered you, Infidels!”

    Not being a Christian, Hindu, Muslim, or Jew, I don’t really have a dog in this hunt. But if your goal is to be accepted as a part of the community — Islam is many-faceted, and its less-virulent forms thrive here — the last thing you want to do is an act that will be perceived by many as an act of dominance, if not a declaration of outright war. Cordoba is not only a symbol of the best Islam can be — it was a center of learning, unparalleled in the Islamic world — but it is also understood as a synonym for conquest, as it was on the outer edges of the Islamic Empire.

    I get into a lot of trouble with my fellow Republicans, as I view Israel as the aggressor in Palestine, and ascribe to Ward Churchill’s observation that if you bully enough people for long enough, sooner or later, someone is going to fight back. Problem is, most people will see this as an act of aggression.

    In Stranger in a Strange Land, Heinlein wrote of a world where Christianity and Islam had merged. Within two or three centuries, we could actually see that; note for the record that our Muslim Miss USA was caught pole dancing. So much for the hijab. Islam can and ought to be an integral part of our national fabric. But this is a way to jeopardize that development, which I see as both natural and positive.

    Our Constitution defends even ridiculous religions (e.g., $cientology), and speech that we might personally despise. As such, Muslim Americans have every right to construct a mosque wherever they see fit, and I will defend their right to do so. But as I understand Islam, one of the divine virtues is patience. This may not be the right time.

    I respect Ali, and supported him at the State Assembly. But I get an endless stream of messages from fellow Party officials warning me of the evils of demonic Islam. I pass them off as the absurdities they often are, but this move gives them a motherlode of ammunition. It’s the old story about the driver of a car having a right to be in that lane, but if a Mack truck is coming at him in that lane, he will end up dead right.

    As for Ali using the megaphone of HuffPost, I would do it if it were offered (I’ve been kicked off of HuffPo and CoPols, because the powers-that-be don’t like my views). I’d post on Townhall, and host Caplis and Silverman. Can’t blame him for that one, Laura.

  3. Hasan’s essay was worse than I thought it would be. Accusations of anti-Islamic bigotry undermine national security.

    In the October 11, 2000 debate, George W. Bush responded to Muslim and Arab-American concerns about racial profiling at airports: “There are other forms of racial profiling that go on in America. Arab Americans are racially profiled in what is called secret evidence. People are stopped, and we have to do something about that.”

    Here’s Michael Tuohey, who checked in Mohammad Attah on 9/11:

    “I said to myself, ‘If this guy doesn’t look like an Arab terrorist, then nothing does.’ Then I gave myself a mental slap, because in this day and age, it’s not nice to say things like this,” Tuohey told the Maine Sunday Telegram. “You’ve checked in hundreds of Arabs and Hindus and Sikhs, and you’ve never done that. I felt kind of embarrassed.”

    Concerns about being “nice” and “anti-racist” left thousands dead.

    In more recent news, it seems like nobody of consequence was able to cast doubts on Maj. Nidal Hasan’s loyalties until his 14 victims’ corpses were cold. Despite his disturbing behavior, his superiors put him forward as a model, the kind of Muslim we need to win hearts and minds… etc.

    Harsh criticism isn’t bigotry. Attempts to fight “bigotry” often only create a climate of unreality on important topics.

    Hasan writes:

    “Regardless of hurt feelings, one fact always remains — Islam is as deeply sewn into the fabric of American history as the Confederate flag — and that will never change.”

    Hasan is deluded or even lying. His dedication to shoddy history, his accusations of bigotry and his posturing resentment against white Christians are representative of left-wing multiculturalism.

    Such a man will not defend the Christian heritage of America and in fact is promoting myths which undermine it. I gave him a fair hearing in his campaign for treasurer, but his brash playboy appearance at the state assembly was a big turn-off.

    With this article, I’m becoming actively concerned what his influence could be doing to our state.

    As for the mosque controversy, the very name “Cordoba House” is a horrible choice. Islamic Cordoba was built in the aftermath of an invasion of Christendom. (And its reputation for tolerance and enlightenment is questionable.)

    Contra Hasan, expressing concern and respect for a community which lost its dead to an attack by Islamic terrorists isn’t merely protecting a “fragile collective ego.” And it’s galling to dismiss grieving New Yorkers’ “fragile ego” and then claim that listening to them is “hurtful pandering.”

    Now I thought the GOPTrust ad against the “mosque” was shameless in using footage of the 9/11 attacks and inflammatory in tone. But Hasan is pushing a deadly form of political correctness that tries to suppress any doubts about “diversity” and any defenses of cultural unity.

    Outrage over the Cordoba House Islamic center is certainly pandering if it ignores the root cause of the Cordoba House: Islamic immigration into the U.S.

    Here’s some honest talk: we Americans can’t distinguish “good Muslims” from bad. The PC is too blinding.

    While we do owe loyalty to Muslims who are American citizens, we need to curtail Muslim immigration into the country. Indeed, we should have cut off all such immigration instead of invading Iraq.

  4. Careful if you insult Ali or his family or write anything they don’t approve of, they will call you bigots, and tell you that until you donate as much money as they have you don;t get to voice your opinons. They are not conservatives, or trying to further the freedoms in this great county. They are merely using them to get their own power.

    • Actually, based on the reluctance of Colorado political figures to comment in response to my requests on Ali’s statements, I would say being called a bigot is the least of the repercussions from criticizing Ali. Hasan may preach tolerance, but he doesn’t practice it.

      So I’m clear, I’ve heard only wonderful things about his mom and his sister. Accordingly, my comments only apply to Ali and not his family or the Hasan Foundation.

  5. Michael Lockhart

    Imagine if hundreds of American Muslims died at Ground Zero at the hands of radical Islamic terrorists, and their families were told they shouldn’t have a prayer space nearby because it might offend people who think Muslims are dangerous. Wait… you don’t have to imagine. It’s happening.

    • I’d imagine we’d hear from the families of the Muslim families killed urging support and getting lots of media time. I haven’t heard anything and I follow the news as a hobby – albeit not the world’s healthiest one. I also suspect that of the 3,000 killed in the terrorist attacks in New York, there were not “hundreds” of muslims.

      Regardless of how many there were, however, no one is arguing there should not be a nearby “prayer space.” We’re debating a mega-mosque project named the Cordoba House with much symbolism of conquest.

      Since I posted this article, compromise ideas are being discussed. Perhaps a nearby prayer space could replace the mega development, and the Cordba project could be relocated.

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