“I was deeply touched by Powell’s words and I agree with them,” said Ali Hasan, a Republican candidate for state House District 56 who lives in Beaver Creek. “However, I have been disappointed with Obama’s lack of outreach to the Muslim community. Obama, in my mind, has gone at great lengths to distance himself from the Islamic religion, rather than to actually discuss his special role in being someone that could unite divisions between America and the Muslim world.”
Hasan founded Muslims for Bush and later Muslims for America. He supports McCain for president but argues that both McCain and Obama have failed in making Muslim-American relations a campaign issue.
“I wouldn’t say that McCain has done a better job necessarily, but in actuality I wish both men would outreach the same way our President W. Bush did. So far, President W. Bush is one of few politicians to go to a Mosque, take off his shoes, kiss our Imam, and officially declare Islam as a religion of peace,” Hasan said.
“(Bush) has a terrific history of taking on members in his own party, including the likes of Franklin Graham, Tom Delay, and Tom Tancredo, for remarks that are divisive and xenophobic.”
Hasan, whose parents immigrated to Pueblo from Pakistan, did not specifically address McCain campaign tactics such as recent robo-calls portraying Obama as a terrorist, or anti-Muslim comments by some audience members at McCain-Palin rallies.
Muzaffar J. Shah, president of the Colorado Muslim Society, declined to single out either campaign but did say both candidates have failed to speak out strongly enough on the issue.
“I wish the leaders like Colin Powell would come up like the way he spoke [Sunday],” Shah said. “It was very balanced and it was very good for the country to unite and to keep away this poison within the society. So he was very good. I commend him for that.
“I wish the leadership, whether it’s Democrats or Republicans, would come out exactly the same way and talk about these kinds of issues and keep in mind that we have to treat each other with respect and we have to live together peacefully,” said Shah, who moved to Colorado 27 years ago from the disputed Indian state of Kashmir.