Muhammad Ali Hasan, an Eagle County Republican contemplating a run at a state Senate District 8 seat in 2008, answers questions after a presentation on the war on terrorism at the Hampton Inn in Steamboat Springs on Wednesday.

Photo by Brandon Gee

Muhammad Ali Hasan, an Eagle County Republican contemplating a run at a state Senate District 8 seat in 2008, answers questions after a presentation on the war on terrorism at the Hampton Inn in Steamboat Springs on Wednesday.

Hasan courts Routt County

Alliance with White, rather than clash, a possibility

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— Muhammad Ali Hasan stopped short of declaring his candidacy for state Senate District 8 at a Steamboat Springs event Wednesday and suggested that he and state Rep. Al White - a fellow Republican who has declared for the seat - may end up working "as a team" rather than clashing in a primary.

Hasan, owner and CEO of an Avon land development company, filed paperwork last month with the Colorado Secretary of State's Office to make him an eligible candidate for the state Senate seat, but has said he did so only to keep his options open, and that he has not made a final decision. He hinted toward a candidacy Wednesday, saying "I believe very strongly in the paperwork I filed."

Term-limited Sen. Jack Taylor, R-Steamboat Springs, will vacate Senate District 8 - which includes all of Moffat, Routt, Jackson and Rio Blanco counties, as well as parts of Eagle and Garfield counties. White, Taylor's ally in the state Legislature, is term-limited in House District 57, where he has served since first being elected in 2000.

Hasan acknowledged Wednesday that White would be a formidable opponent and that White has the backing of the state Republican Party. While noting that he thinks White is a good person and representative, Hasan said he has reservations about whether White is the best candidate for Senate District 8, which Hasan called the most important state Senate seat not just in Colorado, but the entire country.

"The state party is asking me not to run," Hasan said. "But I feel like we're at a moment when the Western Slope issues are transcending the Republican Party."

Specifically, Hasan said he doesn't believe Western Slope oil and gas interests are receiving enough attention. He spoke at length about oil shale, which he thinks may soon become an economically viable energy source.

"We've got more oil in our Rocky Mountains than all of Saudi Arabia in our oil shale," Hasan said. "We're very unprepared for it. : I'm definitely not happy that no one is addressing oil shale."

As some of the 21 members in the audience at the Hampton Inn pointed out, oil shale drilling has been talked about for decades, but the technology has never progressed to a point to make it profitable. Hasan agreed, but said Colorado shouldn't be caught unsuspecting if and when that changes.

"My point is it's on the horizon, and we need to start preparing for it," Hasan said. "The oil companies have plenty of money to figure out this problem."

Despite his hesitations about White, Hasan said he would be willing to step down and not run against him if White and state party leadership sign pledges that they will embrace the issues important to Hasan.

"We might come to an understanding," Hasan said. "That's possible. And if we do, I'll be kicking my (butt) to help him. If we don't come to understanding, I'll be kicking my (butt) to defeat him.

"I don't care if I win or lose. My top priority is to change the debate. If the debate changes, I don't need to run."

Matt Johnston, Al White's campaign manager, attended Hasan's event Wednesday evening. When asked what Hasan meant when he said the two candidates might end up working as a team, Johnston said, "He's speaking of possibly running for another office, which is the only way we would ever work as a team."

Johnston and Hasan spoke after Wednesday's event to discuss the possibility of such an arrangement, which may involve Hasan running for House District 56, which was recently vacated by Dan Gibbs, D-Silverthorne, who was recently appointed to fill the Senate District 16 seat vacancy left by Sen. Joan Fitz-Gerald's resignation.

"I would strongly consider that," Hasan said.

Hasan's event was billed as a presentation on the war on terrorism, and he began with that presentation. By his own admission, however, the presentation was merely a prelude to discussing Senate District 8.

"This was something just to hook a few more people in," Hasan said. "As long as people are here, we can convince them to come to our side."

In his initial presentation, Hasan, a devout Muslim, discussed the war on terrorism and misconceptions about Islam as well as answered questions from the audience. He said that to him and 99 percent of Muslims, Islam is "a religion of peace and love." For terrorists, it is a "religion of death," he said.

Hasan has been holding similar events for Republicans throughout Senate District 8. He said the reception he receives at the events will be a critical factor in his decision to run for office. He was pleased with the reception he received from members of the Routt County Republican Party on Wednesday.

"I thought it went great," Hasan said. "This was an opportunity to test the campaign issue of oil and gas."

Hasan acknowledged that there were probably many Al White supporters in the crowd. He said he didn't mind them supporting White, but he challenged them to change the debate. Former Steamboat Springs City Councilman Paul Strong was among the White supporters in attendance. He said Hasan's presentation was "OK."

"It's interesting to have the debate," Strong said, "but I think Al's done a really god job for our district and he's going to continue."

Comments

freshair 6 years, 4 months ago

Hadley, you're missing the main point here...Christian teachings from the very beginning emphasized 'Render unto Caesar wht is Caesar's and render unto God what is God's'. The basic constitutional framework for ALL islamic nations is Sharia law. Can a 'devout' muslim be depended on to fully embrace the dictates of a secular system? In my opinion, few if any, and those few would certainly not be regarded as 'devout' by their muslim brethern.

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freshair 6 years, 4 months ago

I'm afraid the frequent assertion by 'devout' muslims that islam is a 'religion of peace' has no bearing on reality. Islam is a totalitarian credo which persecutes non-muslims living under its control, keeps its women in a state of chattel slavery and actively works to establish an islamic caliphate over the planet. To die while fighting the 'infidel' is the highest honor one can accomplish although the added lure of '72 virgins' in Paradise, no doubt, sways many to become terrorists and homicide-bombers.

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ColoradoNative 6 years, 4 months ago

America needs more Al Whites in the world. Al's record is stellar. No way could this guy defeat him.

Go Al White!

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Hadleyburg_Press 6 years, 4 months ago

sbvor, The beauty of our SECULAR Constitution is that it protects the right to engage in differing religious beliefs. A non-secular constitution would do just the opposite. The enormous power of the goverment cannot be used to promote religion. How many devout politicians of a simular belief system would it take before the SECULAR Constitution would begin to be eroded in terms of religious freedoms? This includes members of the Supreme Court. Ask a devout whatever who is running for office, which comes first, man's law (Constitution) or god's law (Bible, Torah, Koran, etc)? What do you think the answer is going to be and always has been?

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Hadleyburg_Press 6 years, 4 months ago

freshair, Like the European Christians who "rendered unto Caesar" (Hitler) in the late 1930s and early 1940s?

Devout :adj, 1. EXTREMEly RELIGIOUS ; pious

Again, devout anything with political power is a bad idea. Having said that, people certainly have a right to be devout in their belief system(s). But ask yourself if they should be put in charge of a SECULAR Constitution? Can they over ride their belief system and swear a true oath of allegiance to the laws of man (SECULAR Constitution)?

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freshair 6 years, 4 months ago

clevedave, thanks for the opportunity to assist you once again with your noticeable Reading Comprehension problems. Once again you fail to distinguish between the general and the specific. While Mr. Hasan may indeed be that rarest of 'devout' muslims, a tolerant, espouser of equal rights for women etc., I am referring to the majority of 'devout' muslims, specifically in Muslim countries, who exhibit the qualities of intolerance towards non-muslims and oppression of women. I would be more convinced of Mr. Hasan's purported beliefs if he was still in his homeland and speaking out against Islamic fascism. But then again, why take my word for it? I only spent the better part of the mid 60's thru the mid 70's travelling and residing in countries such as Morocco, Tunisia, Lebanon, Egypt, Iran and Aghanistan, getting to know muslims from every social strata, from cabdrivers and dockworkers to shopkeepers and academics. One thing I do know for sure is that those numerous muslim spokespersons in America and the West who continually claim that Islam is a 'Religion of Peace' rely on naive fools such as yourself to spread their distortion.

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corduroy 6 years, 4 months ago

his religion has absolutely no bearing on his ability to serve on the Senate.. that is all

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Hadleyburg_Press 6 years, 4 months ago

corduroy, Political history, in general, would beg to differ.

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freshair 6 years, 4 months ago

Without going into this too deeply for the uninitiated, please understand that there is no compatibility between fundamental islam and universally accepted standards of Human Rights. As Islam is presently constituted, there is absolutely no compatibility between Islam and democracy. My problem with anyone claiming to be a 'devout' muslim seeking public office is how they will fulfill their duties as Americans first and not muslims.

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Hadleyburg_Press 6 years, 4 months ago

Devout anything with political power will invariable come into conflict with a SECULAR Constitution...

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freshair 6 years, 4 months ago

There are differences between the Nazis and the Islamo-fascists that should not be overlooked. Fascism was largely a European phenomenon, the Japanese regime developed on different lines according to historical tradition and political conditions. Hitler did not engage in Jihad and he did not want to impose on the world at large anything like the sharia, unlike the historic and still active Islamic goal of the Caliphate.

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Hadleyburg_Press 6 years, 4 months ago

sbvor and freshair, Go back to your history books and look at the Catholic church and its European followers during the holocaust, (not all, but a vast number). I am not talking about the National Socialists, the SS, the SD, or the Toten Kopfe, just regular devout Christians. Religous extremism comes in many forms and when it also comes into power it mutates into a malignancy. Help me to understand the diffence between devout and extreme?

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Hadleyburg_Press 6 years, 4 months ago

sbvor, Your questions to Hasan, if answered correctly, would encourage me to vote for him. It would also indicate, as freshair pointed out, that he could not be considered devout by world Muslim standards. He might in fact then be able to uphold the laws of man where in conflict with laws of god when confronted by strict interpretations such as Sharia. I might even vote for him

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steamboatsconscience 6 years ago

looks like another Republican gaffe GOP candidate in a "crazy" soap opera The race for House District 56 should have been a bright spot in state Republicans' effort to retake the legislature: They had found a candidate, Muhammad Ali Hasan, who is young and articulate and had both the time and money to wrest the seat from Democrats.

But then Hasan's campaign publicist and former girlfriend filed for a temporary restraining order against him, alleging that he tried to hack into her computer and tracked her whereabouts after their personal relationship soured.

Hasan, the scion of one of the state's biggest Republican fundraisers, countered by hiring the same high-priced law firm that defended basketball star Kobe Bryant in a sex-assault case. http://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_8709782

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