Ali Hasan: Opponents of Ground Zero mosque are bigots

Fresh from chastising leading Colorado Republicans over sins ranging from plagiarism (e.g., Scott McInnis) to knee-jerk reactionary pandering, GOP bad boy Muhammad Ali Hasan is now tweaking conservative noses on a national scale.

A recent Huffington Post column by Hasan wades into the heated controversy over building a mosque near New York's Ground Zero--and calls those who oppose the $100 million project "bigots."

Hasan is the son of Seeme and Malik Hasan, whose family foundation awarded McInnis a $300,000 fellowship for "water musings" that led to the gubernatorial hopeful's plagiarism debacle. His family has also made the largest reported donations to three tax-cutting proposals on this fall's ballot that have been opposed by most mainstream state candidates of both major parties.

An occasional candidate for state office himself and co-founder of Muslims for Bush, Ali recently left Colorado for California -- but not before blasting U.S. Senate candidate Jane Norton for an Islam-bashing video promoting her anti-terror stance.

Now the filmmaker-turned-candidate-turned-irritant is scoping bigger game. His Huffpo screed laments that some of his former heroes, including Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich, are questioning the wisdom of building a mosque close to Ground Zero. Palin fears the project would "stab hearts," but Hasan argues the facility, which would offer many public amenities, would be "a hub of intellect and encouraged [sic?] tolerance."

Hasan writes, "My fellow conservative leaders, please quit lying. If you are against the mosque, then call yourself a bigot and give us the gift of an honest dialogue, the kind we carry on so proudly here in America."

The blanket denunciation has raised eyebrows among conservative bloggers, including ExPatExLawyer, who responded: "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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Alan Prendergast has been writing for Westword for over thirty years. He teaches journalism at Colorado College; his stories about the justice system, historic crimes, high-security prisons and death by misadventure have won numerous awards and appeared in a wide range of magazines and anthologies.
Contact: Alan Prendergast