On February 20th, the Saudi Gazette published an opinion piece by Mohammed Azhar Ali Khan. The Ottawa-based Muslim leader challenged the idea that a defamation suit against Prime Minister Harper and his Director of communications is the best way to reply to the statement made in mid-January by the latter to the effect that the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM / former CAIR-CAN) has “documented ties” with the terrorist organization Hamas.
On January 28th, the NCCM sent a notice of libel to the PMO. This is the first step in a defamation suit.
Mohammed Azhar Ali Khan was born in India in 1932 and moved to Pakistan in 1950, three years after the partition of India. After studying in the United States and working as a news editor for a Pakistani newspaper and a correspondent for two American newspapers, he migrated to Ottawa in 1965. Shortly after his arrival, he started working as a journalist for the Ottawa Citizen and became a member of its editorial board in 1967. He resigned his position in 1990 to become director of multiculturalism and senior policy adviser with the Citizens’ Forum on Canada’s Future, usually referred to as the Spicer Commission. After the failure of the Meech Lake accord, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney had asked former Ottawa Citizen editor Keith Spicer to take the pulse of Canadians about the political future of the country. From 1996 to 2006, Mohammed Azhar Ali Khan was an Immigration and Refugee Board adjudicator (“refugee judge”). In the eighties, Ali Khan led the Ottawa Muslim Association. In 2007, he started the Muslim Coordinating Council of the National Capital Region (MCCNCR), an umbrella organization in Ottawa, and he was its president until 2010. On February 13, 2014, Ali Khan was officially designated as MCCNCR president for a second time.
The NCCM (former CAIR-CAN) is involved with the MCCNCR. Ali Khan’s advice regarding the best tactic that the NCCM should adopt against the Prime Minister’s Office will assuredly be taken into account before the organization decides on its next move.
According to Mohammed Azhar Ali Khan, the resources required by a court case would be better spent “to galvanize Canadians from coast to coast for political work.” Ali Khan stated that “If Muslims participate massively, donate and volunteer their time to politicians and parties that favor sensible policies on the economy, human rights and dignity, justice, education, ecology and foreign policy they would make Canada an even better country for themselves and for all Canadians.”
Given the passages hostile to the Harper government in his recent text, and given the negative appraisal of Stephen Harper and of the Conservative government that he presented in other articles, Ali Khan’s suggestion can be interpreted as a recommendation to work for the Liberal party and, eventually for the NDP, in the next federal election rather than challenge the Prime Minister Harper’s Office in court.
To those in his camp who insist on suing the PMO because they consider that the Hamas stain will otherwise stick to the NCCM in the future, Ali Khan answers that NCCM Executive Director Ihsaan Gardee’s vigorous appearances in the media have already prevented that from happening.
Jonathan Halevi highlights a call by CAIR-CAN (now renamed NCCM) to fund a Hamas front in Canada
In his recent text published by the Saudi Gazette, Mohammed Azhar Ali Khan reproduced an excerpt from a Globe and Mail article in order to challenge the existence of a relationship between NCCM and Hamas. The author of the Globe and Mail article is Omer Aziz, a recent Cambridge graduate who declares having no affiliation with the NCCM. Aziz and Ali Khan’s articles focus exclusively on the NCCM-Hamas connection that goes through Washington-based CAIR, NCCM’s “parent organization.” This connection to Hamas is certainly an important one but it is far from being the only one.
On March 1, 2014, Jonathan Halevi highlighted another link between CAIR-CAN (now renamed NCCM) and the Hamas infrastructure. Halevi reproduced CAIR-CAN’s October 7, 2000 Action Alert urging its supporters to fund the Jerusalem Fund for Human Services (JFHS), a Hamas front in Canada at the time. Like CAIR-CAN, JFHS changed its name and became the International Relief Fund for the Afflicted and Needy Canada (IRFAN-Canada). Under its two names, JFHS / IRFAN-Canada was well known for its documented ties with Hamas.
JULY 23, 2004
A letter sent by the Canada Revenue Agency to IRFAN-Canada’s General Manager mentions (page 7) that IRFAN-Canada is acting as a successor to JFHS:
A Special Information Bulletin published by the Israeli Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the Center for Special Studies and quoted by Jonathan Halevi mentions that JFHS and IRFAN-Canada refer to the same Hamas-linked entity:
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) revoked IRFAN-Canada’s charity status after it concluded that, for the period 2005-2009 alone, it transferred $14.6 million to the terrorist organization Hamas (GMBDR – Toronto Star). On this occasion, the CRA produced a document “illustrat[ing] past and present linkages between JFHS, IRFAN-Canada and Hamas.”
Two long-time CAIR-CAN / NCCM directors supported Hamas after it was listed as a terrorist organization by the Canadian government
Another link between CAIR-CAN / NCCM and the Hamas infrastructure involves two prominent CAIR-CAN directors: Jamal Badawi (on CAIR-CAN Board from at least 2001 until at least May 28, 2013), and Wael Haddara (on the Board from at least 2001 until April 3, 2012). For at least five years in Jamal Badawi’s case and ten years for Wael Haddara, they simultaneously were on CAIR-CAN’s Board and on the Muslim Association of Canada’s Board. NCCM / CAIR-CAN and MAC can be considered close allies given the fact that, over the years, they organized, sponsored and endorsed dozens of activities together.
In 2004, while Badawi and Haddara were simultaneously on CAIR-CAN and MAC’s Boards, MAC issued a press release in which it openly supported Hamas. This endorsement of Hamas came more than one year after the Canadian government, Liberal back then, had added Hamas to a list of terrorist organizations. The listing is available on Public Safety Canada’s website
JAMAL BADAWI AND WAEL HADDARA ON CAIR-CAN AND MAC’S BOARDS
An earlier version of MAC’s own mission statement declares that MAC’s “modern roots can be traced to the Islamic revival of the early twentieth century, culminating in the movement of the Muslim Brotherhood … MAC adopts and strives to implement Islam … as understood in its contemporary context by the late Imam, Hassan Albanna (1906-1949), the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood.”
According to the Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Watch, apart from Hamas (charter – article 2), “the Muslim Association of Canada (MAC) appears to be one of the only organizations in the world that has acknowledged its ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.”
Like MAC in Canada, Hamas refers to Hassan al-Banna to define where it stands on various issues. In the introduction of its charter, Hamas quotes a statement by Hassan al-Banna, who proclaims his determination to destroy Israel: “Israel will exist, and will continue to exist, until Islam abolishes it, as it abolished that which was before it.”
On February 4, 1949, while the Muslim Brotherhood was under the leadership of al-Banna, the New York Times reported that “the terrorist Moslem Brotherhood in Egypt has formed a suicide squad of 200 men, each sworn to give his life to the cause in some venture such as the assassination of [Egypt’s] Premier Mahmoud Fahmy Nokrashy Pasha.” Egypt’s Premier Pasha was killed by a veterinary student member of the Muslim Brotherhood on December 29, 1948. This suicide squadron was the original model that inspired Hamas to organize its own suicide operations many years later and launch attacks not in Egypt, but at the heart of Israel this time.
In a 2009 speech on “Understanding Jihad and Martyrdom,” given at the Chebucto Mosque in Halifax (Nova Scotia), long-time CAIR-CAN director Jamal Badawi justified the use of suicide bombers and praised those who are killed in action as martyrs. The Investigative Project on Terrorism gathered some audio excerpts of Badawi’s speeches on the subject.
Apart from being engaged in the destruction of Israel, in recent years Hamas leaders have frequently advocated the Islamic conquest of the West (2008 – 2011 – 2012). On July 16, 2013, Hamas even threatened to launch terrorist attacks in countries where Israel embassies are located. Canada is among the potential targets, of course.
On August 19, 2013, Point de Bascule revealed that, sixteen days after having resigned his position as MAC president “for personal reasons” in December 2012, Wael Haddara was listed as a member of the Egyptian delegation at the UN and as an advisor to Muslim Brotherhood-backed Egyptian President Morsi on an official United Nations document.
As for Jamal Badawi, a 1991 internal Muslim Brotherhood memorandum (point 20) established that he is a leader of the North American Muslim Brotherhood infrastructure. Badawi’s name also appears in a 1992 Muslim Brotherhood leadership phonebook. Both documents were produced for evidentiary purposes in the 2008 Holy Land Foundation trial that led to the conviction of all those who were accused of terrorism financing. Apart from MAC and CAIR-CAN, Badawi has led and continue to lead many other Muslim Brotherhood organizations, some international and others in North America and in Europe. (GMBDW – DTN)
The 1991 memorandum presenting Badawi as an MB leader described the Muslim Brotherhood’s work in North America as “a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.” (Point 4.4)
Jamal Badawi and Wael Haddara’s support for Hamas involves more than their 2004 endorsement of the terrorist organization.
In April 2011, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) revoked IRFAN-Canada’s charity status after it concluded that, for the period 2005-2009 alone, it transferred $14.6 million to the terrorist organization Hamas (GMBDR – Toronto Star). A CRA audit of IRFAN-Canada for the fiscal year 2002 confirms that Wael Haddara was on IRFAN-Canada’s Board of Directors at least from 1999 to 2003. (See pp. A-2 and A-3)
CAIR-CAN (now renamed NCCM) shared Board member Wael Haddara with Hamas fund collector IRFAN-Canada in 2002 and 2003.
According to data available on the Canada Revenue Agency’s website, from 2001 to 2010, MAC transferred $296,514 to Hamas fund collector, IRFAN-Canada. For nine of these ten these years, either Badawi, Haddara or both on them were on MAC’s Board of Directors while they were also on CAIR-CAN’s Board.
A spreadsheet available on Point de Bascule details the money transfers from MAC to Hamas fund collector.
MARCH 3, 2004
While CAIR-CAN directors were also on the Board of the Muslim Association of Canada, MAC endorsed Hamas in a press release. While praising Hamas’ “significant social and relief work,” the press release acknowledged Hamas’ involvement in military operations. Hamas’ military operations against civilians have led the Canadian government to designate Hamas as a terrorist organization in 2002. Canadian and American tribunals reject the distinction between the humanitarian and the military activities of a terrorist organization.
In section 80 of the Canadian case R. v. Ahmad 2009 CanLII 84774 (ON SC), Mr. Justice Dawson explained that, when a Canadian organization funds humanitarian activities in Gaza, it allows Hamas to free up money that would have been spent for civilian purposes and to direct it toward other purposes. It is therefore impossible to dissociate contributions made for Hamas’ humanitarian activities in Gaza from those that are made to support its terrorist and military activities.
The conclusion in the 2008 American case Boim V. Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development follows the same principle:
APRIL 7, 2009
In 2009, Ekrima Sabri, a trustee of a coalition raising money for Hamas visited three Canadian cities (Montreal, Quebec City and Ottawa). He was invited in Montreal by Hamas fund-collector IRFAN-Canada to speak at a fundraising event held in a Muslim Association of Canada building on Laurentien Boulevard.
Sabri actively promotes suicide operations. In 2000, he stated: “The younger the martyr, the greater and the more I respect him.” In 2009, a NEFA Foundation report identified Sabri as a trustee of the Union of Good, an international coalition of Islamic charities raising money for Hamas that is headed by Muslim Brotherhood spiritual guide Youssef Qaradawi.
In March 2012, the French government banned Sabri and Qaradawi from its territory after the Islamist Mohamed Merah perpetrated his massacres in Toulouse. They had been invited by a local Muslim Brotherhood affiliate (Le Figaro – Archives PdeB).
CAIR-CAN (now renamed NCCM) shared Board member Wael Haddara with MAC when it hosted the promoter of suicide operations Ekrima Sabri.
DECEMBER 12, 2012
In December, 2012, Point de Bascule criticized then Liberal leadership candidate Justin Trudeau for taking part in the Islamist RIS convention in Toronto. The event was sponsored by IRFAN-Canada, Hamas fund collector, and other organizations funding jihad. The same day, CAIR-CAN (now renamed NCCM) came to the rescue of the IRFAN-sponsored convention and issued a press release condemning Point de Bascule for “using misinformation” and “Islamophobic bias.” At the time, Executive Director Ihsaan Gardee said that criticizing a conference discussing topics like interfaith dialogue and mutual understanding was “ludicrous.”
Yet, within three days, IRFAN-Canada withdrew its sponsorship of the convention because of its proven funding of a terrorist organization.
It is worth mentioning that the launch of the RIS conventions in 2003 was also sponsored by a funder of terrorism, the Saudi World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY). Point de Bascule dedicated an article to this subject: Reviving the Islamic Spirit – In 2003, the launch of the RIS conventions in Toronto was sponsored by an organization tied to Al-Qaida.
NCCM Executive Director Ihsaan Gardee: “We [CAIR-CAN / NCCM] have never had any operational relationship with them [Washington-based CAIR]… It’s like Pepsi and Coke.”
On January 28, 2014, NCCM Executive Director Ihsaan Gardee was interviewed by Evan Solomon on CBC Power and Politics about the notice of libel sent earlier that day by his organization to the Prime Minister Harper’s Office. The notice of libel was NCCM’s answer to a statement made by the PMO’s Director of communications earlier in January to the effect that the NCCM has “documented ties” with the terrorist organization Hamas.
In his interview, Ihsaan Gardee repeated the line already put forward when CAIR-CAN announced its name change to NCCM on July 6, 2013: “There was never any operating or funding relationship between CAIR.CAN and CAIR.” In his CBC interview, Gardee used an interesting image to try to pass his point across. He stated that NCCM / CAIR-CAN and Washington-based CAIR are so different and so unrelated that “It’s like Pepsi and Coke.”
As powerful as the image may be, it is a distortion of history as we and others have pointed out in the past.
During his interview (04:51), Ihsaan Gardee mentioned that the relationship between NCCM / CAIR-CAN and Washington-based CAIR “is not the issue today,” and he insisted on talking about the support they got from various groups, etc. The relationship between both organizations is, however, very important given the fact that American tribunals have already concluded that Washington-based CAIR is tied to the terrorist organization Hamas.
In 2002, for example, an American judge presiding the case Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development v. Ashcroftconcluded that the “Islamic Association for Palestine (“IAP”), has acted in support of Hamas.” CAIR was established in 1994 by three leaders of the Islamic Association of Palestine.
In 2009, in the case United States of America v. Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, Judge Jorge Solis stated that: (Section IV) “The government has produced ample evidence to establish the associations of CAIR, ISNA, NAIT, with NAIT, the Islamic Association for Palestine (“IAP”), and with Hamas.”
In his opinion piece published by the Globe and Mail on February 5, Omer Aziz refers to the fact that a judge “recently acknowledged” that the evidence linking CAIR and Hamas “largely predates” Hamas’ designation as a terrorist organization. In his article, Omer Aziz linked to a 2002 case that does not contain the expression “largely predates.” However, in 2009, Judge Solis did use the expression to characterize the evidence against CAIR. His comment did not refer to Hamas’ designation as a terrorist organization, however, but to the Holy Land Foundation’s designation.
The full quote that follows is taken from pages 14-15 of Judge Jorge Solis’ decision:
Far from reinforcing Aziz, NCCM and Ali Khan’s position, the judge’s decision is another strike against NCCM / CAIR-CAN’s “parent organization.”
From “no links” to “loose link”: NCCM / CAIR-CAN and Washington-based CAIR
It is also worth mentioning that, contrary to NCCM Executive Director Ihsaan Gardee who denied the existence of any links between CAIR-CAN / NCCM and Washington-based CAIR, Omer Aziz has admitted such link, which he described as “loose” in his Globe and Mail piece: “The only ‘link’ between today’s National Council of Canadian Muslims and Hamas then, is that an earlier incarnation of NCCM [CAIR-CAN] was loosely tied to an organization [CAIR] that was founded by three individuals from another organization [Islamic Association for Palestine] two decades ago that had links to Hamas.”
From Ihsaan Gardee’s “No links” to Omer Aziz’ “loose link.” The National Council of Canadian Muslims enthusiastically endorsed Omer Aziz’ article on Twitter shortly after it was published.
A chronology provided in previous Point de Bascule’s articles has demonstrated that NCCM / CAIR-CAN and Washington-based CAIR are more like Coke and Diet Coke, rather than Coke and Pepsi given the numerous proofs of their operating relationship:
JUNE 1994 – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) was established by three leaders of the Islamic Association of Palestine (IAP): Nihad Awad, Omar Ahmad and Rafeeq Jaber. The IAP was a front group for Hamas in the United States in the eighties and nineties. In a video archived by the Investigative Project on Terrorism, Nihad Awad expresses his support for Hamas at Barry University in 1994. In 2002, an American judge presiding the case Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development v. Ashcroft concluded that the “Islamic Association for Palestine (“IAP”), has acted in support of Hamas.”
1996 – Creation of “an informal network in Canada to work with the Washington-based CAIR”
JANUARY 14, 1997 – CAIR-Montreal is added to the Quebec Registry of Enterprises
JULY 10, 2000 – Incorporation of CAIR-CAN with Industry Canada
DECEMBER 29, 2000 – A CAIR-CAN press release issued in Washington provides the name of a US-based CAIR leader as contact to comment about a fire at a mosque in Canada. In this press release, CAIR-CAN is referred to as CAIR’s “office in Canada.”
AUGUST 31, 2001 – A US-based CAIR leader’s name is added as contact in a CAIR-CAN press release criticizing the Canada-based National Post. In this press release, CAIR-CAN is referred to as “the Canadian office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.”
OCTOBER 10, 2002 – Washington-based CAIR files a trade-mark application for an exclusive use of its acronym CAIR in Canada. In the Canadian government’s database, the address of the applicant CAIR is the following:
453 New Jersey Avenue, South East
Washington, D.C. 20003
United States of America
2003 – In a Journalist’s Guide to Islam conceived by CAIR-CAN (p. 15), Washington-based CAIR is described as “CAIR-CAN’s parent organization” (p. 14).
DECEMBER 16, 2003 – CAIR-CAN Chair Sheema Khan swears in an affidavit supporting Washington-based CAIR in a legal trade-mark battle that it “has direct control” over CAIR-CAN’s activities in Canada.
MARCH 10, 2005 – A Canadian government agency confirms that, in Canada, the trade-mark on the acronym CAIR belongs to Washington-based CAIR.
AUGUST 14, 2007 – In a list of CAIR chapters, CAIR-CAN appears between CAIR-Ohio and CAIR-Central Pennsylvania.
JUNE 16, 2008 – In a press release, CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper presents his organization as follows: “CAIR, America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 35 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada.”
Relevant documents published after the statement linking the NCCM and Hamas was made
JANUARY 16, 2014 – David Akin (Toronto Sun): Prime Minister Harper’s director of communications about NCCM / CAIR-CAN: “We will not take seriously criticism from an organization with documented ties to a terrorist organization such as Hamas.”
Point de Bascule presents a short chronology mostly based on NCCM / CAIR-CAN’s own documents to explain how NCCM / CAIR-CAN, its “parent organization” CAIR and Hamas are linked.
JANUARY 28, 2014 – David Akin (Toronto Sun) – National Council of Canadian Muslims threaten to sue PM Harper’s Office over allegations of terrorist links
JANUARY 28, 2014 – CBC / Power and Politics with Evan Solomon – VIDEO NCCM Executive Director Ihsaan Gardee claims that there has never been any links between Washington-based CAIR and NCCM / CAIR-CAN
A partial transcript of the interview is available on Point de Bascule.
JANUARY 29, 2014 – Toronto Sun – Editorial – Let court decide on the NCCM-Hamas matter
JANUARY 29, 2014 – Mark Steyn (steynonline) – Allah-sue Akbar!
FEBRUARY 3, 2014 – Ihsaan Gardee / National Council of Canadian Muslims (Toronto Star) – Why we are suing the Prime Minister’s Office
FEBRUARY 5, 2014 – Omer Aziz (The Globe and Mail) – Why Stephen Harper owes Canadian Muslims an apology
FEBRUARY 5, 2014 – National Council of Canadian Muslims (Twitter) – Endorsement of Omer Aziz’s article
FEBRUARY 7, 2014 – Mohammed Azhar Ali Khan (Saudi Gazette) – Canadian Muslim group, PMO exchange barbs
FEBRUARY 20, 2014 – Mohammed Azhar Ali Khan (Saudi Gazette) – Muslim organization mulls suing Prime Minister’s Office
MARCH 1, 2014 – Jonathan Halevi (Alternative Angle – March 1, 2014): CAIR CAN (today NCCM) urged Canadian Muslims to financially support a charity that according to Israel transferred money to groups affiliated with Hamas
Point de Bascule: File National Council of Canadian Muslims / CAIR-CAN
Point de Bascule: File Mohammed Azhar Ali Khan
Point de Bascule (December 21, 2012): CAIR-CAN condemns Point de Bascule and uses John Ralston Saul as a poster boy to legitimize the Islamist agenda
Point de Bascule (July 18, 2013): National Council of Canadian Muslims: The new name chosen by CAIR-CAN helps cover its links with Washington-based / Hamas-linked CAIR
Point de Bascule (February 7, 2014): Current NCCM / CAIR-CAN Director Khadija Haffajee was on the Editorial advisory board of a magazine hailing the Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna as “a True Guide”