Original address: http://news.nationalpost.com/2014/04/29/canada-outlaws-toronto-based-muslim-relief-group-adds-it-to-terrorist-list/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+NP_Top_Stories+(National+Post+-+Top+Stories)
Web Archive: http://web.archive.org/web/20140429183105/http://news.nationalpost.com/2014/04/29/canada-outlaws-toronto-based-muslim-relief-group-adds-it-to-terrorist-list/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+NP_Top_Stories+(National+Post+-+Top+Stories)
Author: Stewart Bell
Source: The National Post, April 29, 2014 (internet version)
Original title: Canada declares Toronto Muslim relief group a terrorist organization
TORONTO — A Toronto-based Muslim relief organization that federal charities auditors accused of funding the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas has been added to Canada’s list of outlawed terrorist groups, the government announced Tuesday.
The International Relief Fund for the Afflicted and Needy — Canada was stripped of its charity status in 2011 after the Canada Revenue Agency called it an “integral part” of an international fundraising effort that supported Hamas.
But the government has now taken a further step, criminalizing the former charity, according to Tuesday’s edition of the Canada Gazette. The listing makes it illegal to contribute to the group or enhance its ability to commit terrorism.
The government “will not tolerate terrorist activities including the financing of terrorist groups,” Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney said in a release Tuesday. “IRFAN-Canada has knowingly financed Hamas, a listed terrorist entity, for many years.
IRFAN-Canada was formed in 2008 and was mostly active in the Muslim world.
“Our analysis of the audit information has led the CRA to believe that IRFAN-Canada provides support to Hamas,” the Charities Branch wrote after its investigation into the group.
“Our findings indicate that IRFAN-Canada provided over $14.6-million in resources to operating partners that were run by officials of Hamas, openly supported and provided funding to Hamas, or have been listed by various jurisdictions because of their support for Hamas or other terrorist entities.”
In addition, the CRA said it had found IRFAN-Canada videos at the group’s Mississauga office that “demonize Israel, characterize the Arab-Israeli conflict as a religious war, appeal for all Arab and Muslim nations to join in the struggle against Israel and glorify martyrdom.”
IRFAN did not know the terrorist listing was in the works and had no opportunity to respond or offer its side of the story, Ottawa-based lawyer Yavar Hameed said, speaking on the group’s behalf.
There’s no evidence the group did any direct funding of Hamas, he said.
“This listing happens days before we are to present arguments for the first time to the Federal Court of Appeal, so we’re very concerned about the timing with which this listing happens which completely undermines any ability for this organization to work as a charity,” Hameed said.
“On its face, we believe it is an unfair and unconstitutional decision that has been taken.”
Hameed also said the listing was a “nail in the coffin” for Canadian humanitarian support for “orphans and destitute” Palestinians.
Meanwhile, RCMP said Tuesday it had raided IRFAN’s head office in Mississauga and a residence in Quebec as part of a terrorism-financing investigation.
“An extensive amount of documentary evidence along with stored media, money and other records were seized,” police said in a statement.
In a letter to donors, IRFAN-Canada said it had “recently experienced problems with the bank we deal with because of concerns raised by the Canada Revenue Agency” and that it would “not be in a position to process any new donations.”
“This situation is expected to last until our appeal of the CRA decision is heard later this year at the Federal Court of Canada, at which time we hope and believe our case will be resolved successfully.”
Liberal leader Justice Trudeau was criticized for agreeing to speak an Islamic conference in Toronto that was sponsored by IRFAN-Canada. The relief group eventually withdrew as a “diamond sponsor” of the event.
Government of Canada (April 29, 2014): News release – Government of Canada Lists IRFAN-Canada as terrorist entity
Point de Bascule: File IRFAN-Canada