(This article originally appeared in the Toronto Sun)
The Islamic Society of North America — Canada (ISNA-Canada) was fined and its charity status suspended last month after an audit by the Canada Revenue Agency raised concerns over financial links to armed militias and terrorists in Pakistan.
As reported by investigative journalist Stewart Bell of Global News, the feds suspended the Mississauga-based group’s charity status for one year and fined the group half a million dollars.
CRA auditors revealed ISNA-Canada was working as a “conduit” by using its charitable status in Canada to raise money that “may have knowingly or unknowingly” been used to “support the efforts of a political party and its armed wing Hizbul Mujahideen.”
The political party, Jamaat-e-Islami, is a far-right, conservative Islamist organization that seeks to impose Sharia Law, further reduce rights for women, gays and minorities, and to transform Pakistan into an Islamic State.
Its armed wing, Hizbul Mujahideen, has been listed as a banned terrorist group by our allies in India, the European Union and the United States.
The CRA audit found that ISNA-Canada “failed to conduct any meaningful due diligence” when it sent $136,000 to an aid organization directly linked to Hizbul Mujahideen terrorists.
According to Bell, ISNA-Canada denied any links to terrorism and the organization said it has since made changes to its governance structure.
The feds are allowing this organization to remain active in Canada, and even to maintain charitable tax status. ISNA-Canada was required to shut down its overseas operations and will be prohibited from issuing tax receipts to donors for one year – a slap on the wrist for one of Canada’s largest Muslim organizations.
Despite its reckless past, ISNA-Canada was the recipient of a taxpayer-funded grant. According to a government disclosure database, the Mississauga-based ISNA-Canada was awarded a Canada Summer Jobs grant in 2018.
This long-running grant program became controversial this year when the Trudeau Liberals politicized it to punish those with traditional and Christian values. The Liberals brought in an “attestation” that required groups to pledge support to Trudeau’s progressive values while prohibiting pro-life and many Christian organizations from being eligible.
It is particularly worrisome that ISNA-Canada received this grant given the timeline of the CRA investigation.
The CRA audit took place in 2011 and looked back at the organization’s financial activities from 2007 to 2009. ISNA-Canada was informed of the CRA’s findings in 2014, and yet, the CRA only moved forward with sanctions last month, on Sept. 5, 2018.
ISNA-Canada did not respond to questions from the Sun about whether they disclosed the CRA’s findings when they applied for a taxpayer-funded grant from the Trudeau government.
Politicians of all stripes, including the prime minister, have not shied away from attending events with ISNA-Canada – despite concerns its fundraising activities may have aided a foreign political party and its armed wing.