Wilfredo Amr Ruiz stands out amongst his fellow Muslims, as a convert to Islam, who was (proudly) born and raised in Puerto Rico. Yet his hatred for the state of Israel is as deep-seated as the most hardened of Islamists. This is exemplified by the radical groups he represents and his own words and actions. This month, Ruiz reposted on his social media a photo of several recently deceased Palestinian youth, while making the claim that Israelis are “child murderers.” In truth, Ruiz’s rhetoric is dubious at best and highly misleading, as many of the children pictured in the post were members of terrorist outfits that target Israeli civilians.
Ruiz is the Communications Director for the Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a nationwide group that has foundational and financial ties to Hamas. CAIR was established, in June 1994, under the guidance of global Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzook, and CAIR was named a party to the funding of Hamas, during two federal trials, in 2007 and 2008. Ruiz’s CAIR-Florida has little distinction from its parent organization. In July 2014, CAIR-Florida co-sponsored a pro-Hamas rally in Downtown Miami, where rally goers repeatedly chanted “We are Hamas,” “Let’s go Hamas,” and “Hamas kicked your ass.”
Via CAIR, Ruiz has volunteered for the US chapter of Islamic Relief, IRUSA. In 2015, IRUSA ex-Chairman, Khaled Lamada, tweeted that it is “absurd” to classify Hamas “as a terrorist organization.” Globally, Islamic Relief has been banned by various nations, including Israel, UAE and Bangladesh. In 1999, it was reported that the group collected and sent over $6 million to Chechen rebels with ties to Al-Qaeda. In 2014, Britain’s HSBC bank cut ties with the main chapter of Islamic Relief, Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW), over concerns about “terrorist financing.” In 2021, the US cut ties with IRW over charges of antisemitism.
Ruiz is legal advisor for the American Muslim Association of North America (AMANA), a group condemned by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) for promoting what the ADL called a “venomous” anti-Semitic video featuring white supremacist David Duke. Ruiz founded AMANA’s Puerto Rico and Connecticut chapters and served as Executive Director of AMANA’s sister charity, American Muslims for Emergency and Relief (AMER). The President of AMANA and organizer of the July 2014 pro-Hamas rally, Sofian Zakkout, was thrown off two anti-crime boards for support of Hamas and Holocaust denial. Ruiz refers to Zakkout as his “dear brother.”
Ruiz has served in different capacities with the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), a group with several links to South Asian terror and co-sponsor of the July 2014 pro-Hamas rally. ICNA has spent 30-plus years harboring ex-death squad leader from the 1971 Bangladesh Genocide, Ashrafuzzaman Khan; it has promoted Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation (FIF), a banned front for Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), the group behind the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks; and it continues to partner with Hamas financier Al-Khidmat Foundation (AKF). Ruiz has worked with ICNA’s social services division, ICNA Relief, and as a rep for its Hispanic outreach division, Porqué Islam?
On July 13th, Ruiz reposted a graphic collage on his Facebook page depicting a number of young people, whom he claims were killed by Israeli forces. The post originally came from Omar Suleiman, a popular figure within the Muslim community, who, in 2014, said that “Zionists are the enemies of God,” prayed for a third intifada (violent Palestinian uprising), and stated that “the beginning of the end of Zionism is here.” In December 2017, Suleiman pled for the destruction of the Jewish homeland, telling a Dallas, Texas crowd, “God willing, we will live to see the liberation of Palestine in our time.”
Regarding the post, both Ruiz and Suleiman attempted to malign Israel with it. Above the post, Ruiz wrote, “#childmurderers.” Below the graphic, Suleiman wrote, “The Palestinian children murdered by Israel this year alone. This is what your tax dollars pay for. This is what your government sanctions. This is what your media doesn’t show you.”
While some of these “children” in the graphic may very well have been innocent and tragically caught in the line of fire (as a result of being ‘human shields’ for terrorists), what Ruiz and Suleiman deceptively do not tell their Facebook viewers is that many of the “children” were terrorists, themselves.
One of the “children” was 16-year-old Noureddin Husam Marshoud, a member of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), a terrorist group known for rocket and suicide attacks. The pic used for him on the collage was cropped, not showing the black rifle and military gear he brandished in the original photo. Another was 17-year-old Majdi Yunes Ararawi. A photo of him online has him wearing a PIJ headband and a green tactical vest, while also wielding a rifle. Another was 16-year-old PIJ fighter Mustafa Imad Ali Qassem.
Yet another of the “children” was 17-year-old Hamas operative Ali Hani al-Ghoul. Different photos found online depict him with rifles and Hamas gear. A video of al-Ghoul shows him happily helping to build bombs, as a 15-year-old, in an IED factory. Hamas, like PIJ, is known for rocket and suicide attacks. Both groups are recognized by the US as Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO).
At least one of the “children” displayed in the collage, PIJ fighter Abd al-Rahman Hassan Hardan Sa’abneh, may not have even been a child. According to the Palestinian WAFA News Agency, Sa’abneh, who sports facial hair in his photos, was 22-years-old when he was killed.
Wilfredo Ruiz and Omar Suleiman have used the deaths of children in a cynical manner to elicit anger against Israel. This, while deceivingly holding back the important fact that many of these children most probably died as a result of being members of known terrorist organizations that target Israeli civilians with violence.
We must protect the public, by exposing Ruiz and Suleiman’s malicious efforts to spread their false and misleading narrative.
Beila Rabinowitz, Director of Militant Islam Monitor, contributed to this report.