The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) performed an audit of an Islamic charity following allegations of ties to “an apparent Hamas support network.”
Global News obtained the March 2021 audit document highlighting “troubling” concerns about the federally-funded Muslim Association of Canada (MAC).
The 151-page report revealed its alleged ties to Hamas had yet to be proven and its charity status remained in good standing.
In 2022, MAC received over $800,000 in federal subsidies to create summer jobs, according to the government website.
But the CRA alleges the group has not been “forthright with the public, the media, and with [them] about its activities and how it undertakes them.”
Areas of “non-compliance” cited by the auditors, include alleged ties to Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and IRFAN-Canada, who supported Hamas and thus became a designated terrorist entity.
The Muslim Brotherhood actively endorsed “extreme ideologies that encourage, or support, violence and terrorism,” wrote the agency.
Auditors said “support for the Muslim Brotherhood by the organization’s senior leadership appears to be manifesting itself in the activities and decisions made with the organization.”
According to the CRA, then MAC president Wael Haddara campaigned for Mohamed Morsi, the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Freedom and Justice Party, who would serve as Egypt’s president from 2012 to 2013.
At the time, MAC denied their alleged ties to the group and said it was “not aware of Dr. Haddara’s personal activities.” He resigned from the board in December 2012.
The CRA also uncovered that the current MAC President, Sharaf Sharafeldin, “worked in support” of Morsi’s campaign. Emails suggested the Muslim Brotherhood had “some authority” over him.
“The CRA is concerned about Mr. Sharafeldin’s apparent relationships with high ranking Muslim Brotherhood officials and the potential impact and influence these individuals could have on Mr. Sharafeldin and the organization,” wrote auditors.
The agency would thoroughly examine MAC’s records for the years 2012 to 2015 as part of their investigation into the charity.
MAC insists the audit has yet to uncover evidence of any ties to terrorist groups or terrorism financing.
“The audit would never have been approached in the way it has been had the organization in question been a Jewish organization, a Christian organization, a Hindu organization, or an organization affiliated with any other major world religion,” it argued in court.
It claims the audit is “replete with innuendos and guilt-by-association allegations” and that “the same standard should apply to Muslim Canadians.”
In the 2021 report, the CRA Charities Directorate alleged MAC had “maintained a working relationship” with IRFAN-Canada, who lost its charity status in 2011 after sending millions to fund Hamas.
Despite publicly distancing itself from IRFAN-Canada following the government sanction, the agency alleged that relationship persisted well after 2011.
MAC supposedly “fundraised and promoted itself at the organization’s events and properties,” wrote the CRA, who identified “at least five instances whereby the organization permitted IRFAN-Canada [after its revocation] to participate in its programming.”
According to the auditors, MAC gave IRFAN-Canada a platform to “promote its message” and most egregiously gave IRFAN-Canada an “avenue […] to solicit funds.”
Giving IRFAN-Canada “an opportunity to raise funds on the organization’s premises is tantamount to providing financial resources directly to IRFAN-Canada,” they said.
Yaser Haddara, a former MAC vice-president, claimed his group “did not permit IRFAN to collect funds.”
In an affidavit, he said the CRA did not specify as to “what message IRFAN was promoting.”
“I am not aware of members of Hindu or Sikh temples in Canada being prohibited from supporting political movements in India, or members of Jewish charities being prohibited from supporting political causes in Israel,” it read.
MAC confirmed with Global that it gave IRFAN-Canada roughly $300,000 between 2001 and 2010, but ceased contributions in 2011.
In 2014, the federal government designated IRFAN-Canada as a terrorist entity, though MAC still promoted them on their website, allegedly.
“[We] can’t discuss the situation because of confidentiality rules set out in the Income Tax Act,” a MAC spokesperson wrote in a written statement to the publication when asked about the audit.
“We can confirm that MAC’s operations are not impacted in any way,” they added.