The Canada Revenue Agency conducted an audit of Islamic Society of America, a charitable organization that supports the Masid Al-Hidayaha Mosque and Islamic Cultural Center located in British Columbia. The charity has ties to Qatar and receives funds from an organization that is recognized as a terrorist organization by the Canadian government reported Global News.
Following the money, the trail from Masid Al-Hidayaha Mosque leads to a Qatar-based charitable organization called the Sheik Eid Bin Muhammed Al-Thani Charity Foundation, also known as the Eid Foundation. This charitable organization is a member of charitable coalition called Union of Good, which is operated by Hamas. The Canadian government considers Hamas a terrorist organization.
Despite these connections, the CRA imposed no penalty. The organization’s lawyer explained that the Islamic Center responded to the allegations by making changes in its board membership. The CRA was content with this response and also, according to the Islamic Center’s lawyer, the CRA could find no “shred of evidence supporting a terrorist financing claim.”
The terrorist connection was uncovered during an audit that was intended to uncover corrupt practices. The audit revealed that Saadelin Bahr, the former head of the Islamic Cultural Center, funneled money from charitable contributions for private use. The total amount was $127,000. In addition to this corruption, CRA found that $182,000 worth of charitable receipts were “not compliant.” For this indiscretion, the Islamic Society was fined $9,000.
Mark Blumburg, a non-profit and charity lawyer who independently reviewed the case warned organizations who secure funding from overseas to fully investigate the origination of funds. Though the Islamic Center had no proven direct ties to the Eid Foundation, this was the result of a preliminary investigation. Forthcoming investigations might prove otherwise. Officials are currently investigating a “pattern” of funding transfers between the Eid Foundation and the Islamic Society.
Meagan Kozlovs is a reporter for Debate Report. She’s worked and interned at Global News Toronto and CHECX. Megan is based in Toronto and covers issues affecting her city. In addition to her severe milk shake addiction, she’s a Netflix enthusiast, a red wine drinker, and a voracious reader.