Tulsa has accepted a float from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), but residents question the organization’s links to terrorism.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) have been accepted to participate Veterans Day Parade in Tulsa, Oklahoma. However, this news has not gone down well with other participants, not because CAIR represents Muslims, but because of its association with the Muslim Brotherhood, a known terrorist group.
Adam Soltani, Executive Director with the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Oklahoma denied this, identifying CAIR as an American Muslim Organization that stands by the United States of America, fully supporting its troops. He also added that there are two veterans on the board of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Oklahoma. He further stated that taking part in the Veterans Day Parade was something they had been wanting to do for years and that the CAIR-sponsored float would represent the Muslims of Oklahoma, a very diverse community.
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"Our purpose is to serve the Oklahoma community, not just the Muslim community," he said. "Any claim that CAIR or any Muslim group in Oklahoma is in any way associated with terrorists groups is just absolutely preposterous."
Others see CAIR's participation as an affront to veterans who have served abroad, fighting terrorists to protect the country. The Council on American-Islamic Relations has been officially listed as a terrorist group by the United Arab Emirates. CAIR founder Nihad Awad was earlier with the Islamic Association of Palestine, a group in the United States which raised money for Hamas, a terrorist organization.
In 2008, the Federal Bureau of Investigation also cut all its ties with the Council on American-Islamic Relations after it came to light that Nihad Awad had participated in meetings with the Holy Land Foundation, another accused in the case. FBI Special Agent, Lara Burns testified at the trial that CAIR was a Hamas front, and the Obama administration has continued with this refusal to work with CAIR. Hamas itself was established by the Muslim Brotherhood in 1988 after the First Intifada or uprising in Palestine.
Ronda Vuillemont-Smith, president of Tulsa 912 said they weren't against freedom of expression, which was enshrined in the Constitution, but asked the Tulsa Veterans Day Parade Association not to hide CAIR's participation in the parade, scheduled for November 11. Tulsa 912's float will be next to that of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
Commenting on the acceptance of CAIR's application, vice-president of the Tulsa Veterans Day Parade Association Patsy Varnell only said they had to be fair to everyone.