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Canadian Islamist Groups' Charity Status Revoked Over Potential Militant Ties

Image: Canadian Islamist Groups' Charity Status Revoked Over Potential Militant Ties
In early February of this year (from left) Eftakhar Alam, with the Washington Islamic Society of North America; Rabbi Julie Schonfeld; Eli Epstein; Belle Yoeli and Ken Bandler, with the American Jewish Committee, met with staff members from the office of Rep. Adriano Espaillat, D-N.Y., on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. The topic? Alleged bigoted rhetoric and harassment. (Alex Brandon/AP)

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Thursday, 20 Jul 2017 10:30 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Canadian authorities have stripped two former affiliates of the Islamic Society of North America's Canada chapter (ISNA-Canada) of their charitable status after discovering financial ties between the Islamic organizations and a Pakistani militant group.

ISNA Islamic Services of Canada and the Canadian Islamic Trust Foundation lost their charity status for "non-compliance" following a Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) audit, according to records acquired by Canada's Global News.

The CRA discovered several issues during the audit, including evidence that ISNA Islamic Services facilitated donations that may have ended up in the hands of Hizbul Mujahideen (HM), a Kashmir-based militant group.

According to the CRA report, the Toronto-based Jami Mosque raised and transferred funds to the ISNA Development Foundation "for remit" to the Relief Organization of Kashmiri Muslims (ROKM), a "charitable arm" associated with HM. "Given the identified commonalities in directorship between ROKM and Jamaat-e-Islami and the Hizbul Mujahideen executive committee, concerns exist that the funds collected and disbursed as part of this relief fund may have been used to support the political efforts of Jamaat-e-Islami and/or its armed wing Hizbul Mujahideen," the CRA said.

Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) is designated as a terrorist organization by the European Union and India. In June, the State Department put HM's leader, Syed Salahuddin, on its terrorist designations list, citing his threats to train suicide bombers in Kashmir and HM's responsibility for several deadly terrorist attacks.

This development comes four years after Canadian authorities revoked ISNA Development Foundation's charity status for similarly raising funds that may have reached militants in Kashmir. In July 2013, The Toronto Star (star.com) reported that ISNA-Canada may have funneled $280,000 to ROKM.

The 2013 CRA audit found numerous issues within the ISNA Development Foundation, including missing documentation, misleading financial reports, and sending donations abroad to unapproved groups. The ISNA affiliated organization engaged in these activities despite a stated purpose of serving the poor and needy in Canada.

A 2010 CRA audit found that ISNA-Canada itself misused more than $600,000 in donor funds.

A "very small portion . . . is distributed to the poor and needy and the major portion is spent on the administration of the centre," concluded the 2010 audit. "Spending for personal expenses out of the charity's funds is unethical," the auditor wrote, saying it is "tantamount to misappropriation of funds."

Steven Emerson is executive director of The Investigative Project on Terrorism. He was a correspondent for CNN and a senior editor at U.S. News and World Report. Read more reports from Steve Emerson — Click Here Now.

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Canadian authorities have stripped two former affiliates of the Islamic Society of North America's Canada chapter of charitable status after discovering financial ties between the Islamic organizations and a Pakistani militant group.
canada, dra, hm, isna, rokm
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2017-30-20
Thursday, 20 Jul 2017 10:30 AM
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