TULSA - The Veterans Day parade in Tulsa is one of the largest in the country each year, but this year one float in particular is getting a lot of attention.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, applied for and was granted a spot in the 2015 parade.
That doesn't sit well with some people, including Tulsan Larry Williamson.
"The organization is anti-American," Williamson tells KRMG. "It's part of the Muslim Brotherhood, at least it's a member of the Muslim Brotherhood Palestine Committee. This is not according to me, it's according to the FBI."
He said he doesn't object to individual Muslims marching in the parade, or even other organizations like the Peace Academy, an Islamic private school based in Tulsa.
"But this particular group, they are anti-American, they are enemies of America in a current war. Americans are fighting and dying to defend against the Jihad. These people are here raising money for Hamas," Williamson said.
Adam Soltani, Executive Director of CAIR Oklahoma, says claims that CAIR supports terrorism are simply false.
"Any claim that CAIR is associated with the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, or any other terrorist organization is absolutely preposterous, he told KRMG. "CAIR was founded in 1994 in Washington D.C. as a national organization to be a civil rights advocate for American Muslims, to stand up for constitutional rights, for religious freedom, for pluralism, and for every right that we value as American citizens."
He said the float is intended to "send a message out there, that as Muslims we are part and parcel of this society, we are part of the fabric of this beautiful country, and we appreciate our veterans. There are many Muslim veterans, including here in Oklahoma - some of which will be on that float, and a part of that parade - and we just want to show our appreciation for those who have served our country and fought to preserve our freedoms and the beauty of our nation."
Indeed, history shows that Muslims have served and died in every major conflict in U.S. history, dating back to the Revolutionary War.
Muslims, most of whom were brought to America as slaves, fought in George Washington's army.
The national CAIR organization was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in a 2001-11 investigation into a group called the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development.
Several members of that group were eventually convicted; one of them was also a founding member of CAIR.
However, CAIR has never been indicted nor convicted of any criminal activities related to terrorism.
Its alleged ties to Hamas continue to be debated, but the group issued a statement in support of a fatwa, or religious edict, condemning terrorism in the name of Islam.
It read, in part:
"There is no justification in Islam for extremism or terrorism. Targeting civilians' life and property through suicide bombings or any other method of attack is haram or forbidden—and those who commit these barbaric acts are criminals, not martyrs."
Williamson tells KRMG he's convinced the group does support Hamas, and said he will not participate in this year's Veterans Day parade.