Author: Sean Gordon
Source: The Gazette, November 23, 2004, p. A18
Original title: Charity a front for terrorists, Day alleges
Based in Mississauga, Ont.; A reconstituted version of group identified as Hamas fundraiser: Tory Conservative MP Stockwell Day wants Ottawa to investigate a Mississauga, Ont., charity he alleges has been operating as a front for a Palestinian terrorist organization.
Day called on federal officials to study the charitable status of the International Relief Fund for the Afflicted and Needy, which he said operates as a front for Hamas, which has been listed as a terrorist group by the federal government.
“Even Saudi Arabia has now announced it is going to shut down all those types of organizations within their country. When will our country at least rise to Saudi Arabia’s standard and shut down these groups that are raising money for Palestinian terror groups?” Day asked in the House of Commons.
Responding to Day, Revenue Minister John McCallum said he wouldn’t comment on specific charities, but added his department routinely “solicits information from Canadians and conducts vigorous audits to root out and remove the charitable status of illegitimate charities in this country.”
An IRFAN official in Ottawa refused to comment.
Joseph Ben-Ami, a spokesperson for Jewish rights group B’nai B’rith, called on Ottawa to “thoroughly investigate” IRFAN Canada and strip its charitable status if it turns out any funds made their way into Hamas coffers.
Day said federal records indicate IRFAN Canada, which also has offices in Ottawa and Montreal, raised more than $10 million from 2000-03. He said a report by an Israeli researcher suggests that IRFAN is a reconstituted version of another group called the Jerusalem Fund.
That foundation, Day said, was identified in a secret Privy Council Office memo in May 2000 as a front for Hamas.
The allegations voiced by Day originate with the Canadian Coalition for Democracies — an Israel-friendly group that describes itself as a “multi-ethnic, non-profit, non-partisan organization working to change foreign policy.”
The organization said IRFAN shares the same mailing address and directors as the Jerusalem Fund.