Controversy Erupts Over Muslim Group's Entry In Tulsa Veterans Parade
TULSA, Oklahoma - Controversy continues as the 97th Tulsa Veterans Parade approaches.
Ever since it was announced that A Muslim nonprofit organization would have a float in the parade, protests have continued, including one on Sunday.
The group is asking parade goers to literally turn their backs on the float for the Council on American Islamic Relations.
They say the problem isn't with Muslims, but it is with the organization CAIR itself, which they say never should have been allowed entry into the parade.
The protesters are among critics around the country who believe CAIR has ties to terrorist groups.
"Never, not in nearly a century of parades, has an entry like CAIR sought to disrupt and offend the very men and women, and in reality, the tradition of this fine parade," said Rex Duncan, who is a war veteran, former state representative and the current District Attorney for Pawnee and Osage Counties.
In about three days, organizers put a “Turn Your Back on CAIR” rally together.
About 60 people, along with veterans and former state representatives, came out to show support.
While speaking against the Council on American-Islamic Relation's or CAIR's inclusion in Wednesday's veterans parade.
"This is not about Muslims,” protestor Bob Dani said. “If anyone says this is about Muslims, they've missed the point of the whole thing. This is about a terrorist organization."
For nearly 10 decades, the veterans parade has gone through Tulsa. The floats are greeted with cheers.
Veteran David Bell says CAIR's float won't get to receive that warm welcome.
"That parade is something I've chosen not to be a part of, because I don't want to share something of honor with the enemy of this country,” Bell said.
While Bell won't be there, organizers are asking those who do come to turn their backs on the CAIR float as it passes.
Protesters say each year they are sure there are Muslim veterans participating in the parade.
However, they say it's never been on a float sponsored by a group like CAIR.
"What I have a problem with is CAIR has a float,” Bell said. “These guys, why won't they be in a VFW or American Legion or any of the service organizations? Why did they pick a known criminal terrorist group to be in the float?"
Earlier this week we spoke to parade organizers who say CAIR is allowed into the parade as long as they don't display a political or religious message.
CAIR says it isn't a terrorist organization, and claims its only intention is to honor the veterans for protecting American freedom.