The Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIRâ€“FL) organized the particiaption of South Florida Muslims veterans in the November 8 Miami-Dade County Golden Veterans Parade 50th Anniversary Commemoration.
The parade was an initiative of County Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz and the Miami-Dade County Military Affairs Board, and with the support of 34 Miami-Dade municipalities, local military organizations and a diverse group of community leaders.
Attorney Wilfredo A. Ruiz, legal counsel for CAIR-FL and a Navy veteran officer who served in the JAGC Corps and in the Chaplain Corps, participated in the parade.
Ruiz, who is also the Secretary for the Miami-Dade Community Relations Board, said the:
â€œThis type of event is necessary and welcomed as it honors those who have served this nation. It is good that the general public witness Muslim veterans of America participating because it is another way for them to realize that our community is an active contributor in upholding our most cherished values of liberty and democracy.”
Other Muslim veterans participated, such as Muhammad Shakir, a Vietnam veteran who is the Director for the Miami-Dade County Asian American Advisory Board. Shakir said that an increased participation of Muslim Veterans of Americans should be expected year after year.
The Muslim veterans marched the whole trajectory of the parade displaying a banner reading: â€œAmerican Muslim Veterans: Proudly Serving.â€ They were personally greeted by Congressman Joe Garcia, Commissioner Jose Pepe Diaz, Javier Souto, as well as many other elected officials and mayors from Miami-Dade County.
Many other citizens and fellow veterans from all of the military branches not only greeted the Muslim Veterans but also thanked them for their service.