Wilfredo Amr Ruiz is fervently involved with groups that incite terror and bigotry. So why would the University of Miami allow him to participate in a commencement ceremony for its students and subject them to prejudice and propaganda in the name of interfaith representation? School officials have much to answer for.
On December 15, 2016, the University of Miami (UM) held its 2016 Commencement Ceremony at UM’s Convocation Center. The commencement ceremony is meaningful recognition for the years of hard work students put in during their time at the university. It would have been a special day for all in the graduating class had it not been for one controversial speaker who, in this author’s opinion, marred the event by giving the opening invocation for the ceremony.
That speaker was radical Muslim activist Wilfredo Ruiz, who shared the stage with a rabbi and a priest. In one photo from the event – a ‘selfie’ – the three of them are smiling alongside the President of UM and former Secretary of Health of Mexico, Julio Jose Frenk Mora. The rabbi, Lyle Rothman, has used an Israeli flag as the ‘cover photo’ for his Facebook page at least five times. Rothman will probably not be thrilled to find out that Ruiz is associated with Hamas and anti-Semitism and labels the Jewish state “the Apartheid beast.”
Ruiz is the Communications Director for the Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). For the commencement ceremony, CAIR referred to him as “CAIR-Florida Chaplain.
CAIR was created in June 1994 as part of an umbrella group led by then-global head of Hamas, Mousa Abu Marzook. CAIR has been named by the US government a co-conspirator for two federal trials dealing with the financing of millions of dollars to Hamas. In November 2014, along with ISIS and al-Qaeda, CAIR was designated a terrorist organization by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) government. Many CAIR representatives have served prison time and/or have been deported from the US for terrorist-related activity.
CAIR-Florida reflects the same violent extremism as its parent group. In August 2014, CAIR-Florida Executive Director Hassan Shibly, who has denied Hezbollah is a terrorist group, wrote, “Israel and its supporters are enemies of God…” In July 2014, CAIR-Florida co-sponsored a pro-Hamas rally in Downtown Miami, where rally goers shouted, “We are Hamas” and “Let’s go Hamas.” Following the rally, the event organizer, Sofian Abdelaziz Zakkout, wrote, “Thank God, every day we conquer the American Jews like our conquests over the Jews of Israel!”
Sofian Zakkout is the President of the American Muslim Association of North America (AMANA), one of the other co-sponsors of the 2014 pro-Hamas rally. Zakkout is a known supporter of Hamas, stating in August 2015, “Hamas is in my heart and on my head.” Wilfredo Ruiz is the legal advisor for AMANA and founded the Puerto Rico and Connecticut chapters of the group. Ruiz is additionally a Corporate Director for AMANA’s sister organization, American Muslims for Emergency and Relief (AMER), another co-sponsor of the pro-Hamas rally.