CO: 'GUNNY BOB' TIRADE SPARKS A VOICE FOR MUSLIMS ON RADIO
When host "Gunny Bob" Newman launched his anti-Muslim missile on his KOA 850-AM talk show last month, it created an uproar that led some advertisers to bail on his show.
What he said: "I want every Muslim immigrant to America who holds a green card, a visa, or who is a naturalized citizen to be required by law to wear a GPS tracking bracelet at all times."
The Muslim community was not pleased. Unfortunately, that community hasn't had much of a chance to voice its response in the media - until Taj Ashaheed.
A Denver-based market researcher and a Muslim, Ashaheed is a self-described "typical looking American guy" from Maryland whose father was in the Air Force and worked at Martin Marietta.
With little hope of success, he arranged to state his case to Lee Larsen, senior vice president of Clear Channel Radio's Rocky Mountain Region. Clear Channel owns KOA.
To his surprise, the reaction was positive, says Ashaheed, who is executive director of the Colorado Muslim Council. "I was quite shocked, to be honest. I thought I would get the brush-off." Instead, "We had a good, hour-long meeting. I didn't expect an apology, I didn't ask for one. We agreed that it would be good to have a consistent voice from the Muslim community."
That voice will be Ashaheed. He'll be on with Jay Marvin Wednesday (6-10 a.m, KKZN 760-AM) and has tentative hook-ups with Peter Boyles and even Gunny Bob.
"We just don't have a voice," says Ashaheed. "When we do, it's always reactive. It would be nice to have a consistent voice out there."
Gunny's rant didn't surprise him. "It was just a matter of time. I'm all for people's right to have an opinion (but) it would be interesting if there were a counter voice then and there."
Well-spoken and flashing a quick sense of humor, Ashaheed thinks he can hold his own with anyone, including Gunny. "I'm ready. I work in market research. I can see all the curve balls coming."