Tulsa Veterans Day Parade Attracts Spectators, Controversy - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |

News

Tulsa Veterans Day Parade Attracts Spectators, Controversy

Posted: Updated:
Photo of the parade committee president speaking with members of the group. Photo of the parade committee president speaking with members of the group.
Photo of the sign installed on the group's float. Photo of the sign installed on the group's float.
Supporters of Confederate Veterans were also on the sidelines of the parade with a peaceful protest over not being allowed to take part. Supporters of Confederate Veterans were also on the sidelines of the parade with a peaceful protest over not being allowed to take part.
TULSA, Oklahoma -

The 96th annual Tulsa Veterans Day Parade attracted about 15,000 spectators Wednesday morning. It also stirred a bit of controversy.

The controversy had to do with one group's participation, the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

The tension around the Muslim group joining the parade had been growing for weeks. Group members said they even received death threats for being a part of the parade, and so have parade organizers for allowing them to participate.

11/5/2015: Related Story: Amid Controversy, Muslim Group Participates In Tulsa Parade To Honor Veterans

But, despite concerns over the float, the parade went off, mostly, without a hitch.

From a distance, the float looked like every other float in the parade - red, white and blue tinsel, plenty of flags. The only thing that stood out from the others was one word: ‘Muslims.’

"Oklahoma Muslims thank our veterans," said CAIR-Oklahoma Director Adam Soltani.

And that single word caused outrage. Some spectators turned their backs as the CAIR float passed by, and police officers even had to hold one man back as he shouted at the float.

Even before the parade began, Jim Gillis carried a sign reading ‘Every Real Muslim is a Jihadist,’ on one side, and ‘Jesus has a pressure cooker for every dead Muslim,’ on the other.

Parade leaders were concerned for the safety of CAIR.

Mike Callahan, president of the Veterans Day parade committee, said he, too, received death threats for allowing the group to participate.

"This is the first time I've ever carried a firearm. 15 years," Callahan said.

Tuesday night parade leaders asked the CAIR group to remove any signs from the group's float, afraid the threats might come to life, but the group refused, citing their First Amendment right.

Soltani said, "Why are you letting the bullies win? If we take the signs down, we're letting the bigots and the hateful people win today."

In the end, CAIR was allowed to keep their sign after publicly denouncing terrorism.

"The Council on American-Islam Relations Oklahoma Chapter and the national office, we condemn every group that is associated with terrorists or terrorism groups in the world. We condemn Isis, we condemn the Muslim Brotherhood, we condemn HAMAS, because we stand for American values and principles," Soltani said.

"We've always had Muslim veterans. And like I told them in the get-go, there's every religion of veteran in this parade,” Callahan said.

CAIR-Oklahoma said it does plan to participate in future Veterans Day parades.

Supporters of Confederate Veterans were also on the sidelines of the parade with a peaceful protest over not being allowed to take part.

11/6/2015 Related Story: 'Confederate Veterans Lives Matter' Claims Tulsa Parade Unfairly Denied Float

There were at least two groups, the largest at the end of the route, with several Confederate battle flags.

Confederates supporters like Anthony Gunner cheered for veterans and criticized parade organizers for allowing the Muslim group to take part.

Gunner: "On top of the fact they wouldn't let the Confederate veterans have a float in this parade, so we're here to tell them ‘no, that ain't right.’”
Man: “I agree with you and I wish more people would stand together on this.”
Gunner: “Thank you for your service. Thank you very much."

The confederate groups were not associated with the people who disrupted the parade.

Special Features

Live Traffic

Get the latest road conditions on Green Country roadways.

iPhone App

Get breaking news, weather, sports & video directly on your iPhone.

CBS Shows

Watch your favorite CBS shows for free online.

Links

Looking for a website or event you heard mentioned on News On 6? Find it here!

TV Schedule

Need to know what's on TV? Check out our television schedule.

Live Radar

WARN Interactive

Special Coverage

  • Bridge Tracker

    How safe are Oklahoma's bridges? Use Bridge Tracker to find out now.

  • Fallen Heroes

    News On 6 honors our fallen Oklahoma heroes. View our interactive timeline.

  • Murrah Bombing Timeline

    Learn more about the events leading up to and following the bombing.

  • Storm Zone

    Watch tornadoes tear across Oklahoma and learn how to stay safe!

Powered by Frankly
News On 6
303 N. Boston Ave.
Tulsa, OK 74103
Newson6.com is proud to provide Oklahomans with timely and relevant news and information, sharing the stories, pictures and loves of Oklahomans across our great state.
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 KOTV. Oklahoma Traveler™ is a registered trademark of Griffin Communications. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.