Muhammad Miguel Ali Hasan is a man with a lot of names and a lot of titles. He is a documentary filmmaker, a former Republican political candidate (for Colorado House District 56 in 2008 and state treasurer in 2010), a TV pundit and an heir to a Colorado health-care fortune. He is also the man who co-founded Muslims for Bush in 2004 and then rejected many of the GOP's ideals six years later in favor of an agenda that supports immigrant rights, gay marriage and religious freedom.
Now Hasan, who moved back to California from Colorado last year, hopes to add the title of author to his resumé with a book he's calling Elephant: The 13 Lessons I Learned When I Ran for Office and Knocked on 20,000 Doors. His Colorado House campaign, to which Westword devoted a cover in January 2008, was memorable in part because of Hasan's own larger-than-life personality, but also because of the racism and prejudice he says he experienced as a man with a Muslim name and Pakistani heritage. Hasan's sister, Asma Hasan, an author in her own right whose book Why I Am a Muslim was published by Harper-Collins in 2004, is now editing his third rewrite, and although Elephant doesn't have a publisher, you can bet that Ali Hasan will find one. As the bio (half-self-aggrandizing and half tongue-in-cheek) on his new website, miguelali.com, reads: "What kind of man wins over 40 awards for his filmmaking, screens at over 85 film festivals, works as a public school teacher, assists renowned environmental scientists, appears regularly on Fox News and BBC Radio, serves as a regular guest on Politically Incorrect With Bill Maher and CNBC's The Dennis Miller Show, writes for the Huffington Post, defends the rights of gays, undocumented immigrants, and Muslims, and still finds time to run for office twice and lose each time...all before the age of 30? A man named Miguel Ali."
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"My family has encouraged me to take my time and make it a timeless piece rather than a rushed one," says Hasan, who added "Miguel" to his name in 2010 to honor some of the Spanish heritage in his background.
Hasan is also working on a biopic about former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto and recently made his first film, Rabia, available on his website for free download; the film is based on Wafa Idris, who many believe was the first female to become a suicide bomber when she detonated a bomb in Jeruselem in 2002. "Rabia was distributed by Elypse Films for three years, and the rights recently reverted back to me," Hasan says by e-mail. "When my team and I made this film, we did it to open a dialogue and bring more peace to the world; in honor of my team, I wanted to make Rabia free, and I'm doing my best to get as many people to watch it as possible."
Scene and herd: That's not the only film release with a local hook. Earlier this year, native Boulderite and biblical number-cruncher Harold Camping was predicting that the Rapture would occur on May 21. If it did, no one noticed — but now Camping is absolutely positive that the end of the world will come on October 21, 2011. Which also happens to be the day that filmmakers Ivan Suvanjieff and Dawn Engle will host the world premiere of the documentary they filmed on May 21, when the Rapture didn't hit town but Bono did: Jesus vs. Bono, profiled in last week's Off Limits.
They'll show their mockumentary at 7 p.m. Friday, October 21, at the brand-new Voodoo Comedy Playhouse, 1260 22nd Street in Denver. Assuming, of course, that the world has not ended.