How does the CRA justify auditing MAC for terrorism financing concerns?
The audit conducted by the CRA and its preliminary findings contain broad, inflammatory allegations of terrorism without substantial evidence or details. The CRA did not find any financial transactions that left Canada or within Canada to support terrorism financing. Instead, the CRA relied on a “link analysis” approach to accuse MAC of wrongdoing based solely on perceived associations.
Provided support to an organization listed as a terrorist entity
Allegation: MAC provided non-financial support to IRFAN Canada after it was listed in 2014.
MAC provided funding to IRFAN-Canada when it was a registered charity. The Government of Canada and many other charities had given IRFAN-Canada funding as well.
It’s important to note that the RCMP Commissioner, in an official letter, confirmed that the funds given by MAC to IRFAN-Canada were legal.
The CRA falsely accuses MAC of supporting IRFAN after it was listed as a terrorist entity by providing a platform to promote IRFAN-Canada.
in the AFL, the CRA presented two archived web pages that were outdated. One was found on a third-party archiving website and the other was obsolete. They were first created in 2009 and 2010. Therefore, it is misleading for the CRA to consider them as evidence to support the existence of a terrorist entity after IRFAN-Canada was listed in 2014.
See evidence of supporting a terrorist entity: Exhibit of Webpages
Financial support from foreign states known to support armed terrorist groups
Allegation: The Embassy of Saudi Arabia had given MAC a donation for building a Mosque.
In 2013 MAC received a small one-time donation from The Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Ottawa to support the capital costs of building a Mosque.
In cross examinations [Name Redacted], the director of RAD, explained that RAD would not have concern if a Canadian Catholic Church received a donation from the Vatican, however, it would have a concern with donations coming from the Embassy of Saudi Arabia, because the CRA is concerned with donations from entities with suspected links to terrorism .
Ironically, Canada continues to sell armed vehicles to Saudi Arabia, and in 2020, Canada doubled its arms sales to Saudi Arabia.
Relationships with organizations and people known to have supported terrorism
Allegation: The CRA states it had received extensive classified reporting, including from FINTRAC and the RCMP, of numerous suspicious financial transactions involving MAC accounts and international sources and recipients.
The RCMP has never indicated to MAC that it had any concerns. The official letter by the RCMP Commissioner confirms that it had no concerns with MAC.
FINTRAC sharing transactions related to a charity is not unusual and is not grounds for an audit. If FINTRAC had in fact provided information that was suspicious and serious, then why would the CRA wait until 2015 to start the audit and take another 7 years to complete it ?
None of these alleged suspicious transactions made its way to the preliminary findings of the AFL.
Sympathy for political movements abroad
Allegation: The CRA questioned MAC’s relationship with the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and whether MAC is advancing the interests of the organization.
Prior to the audit MAC publicly and transparently states that it understands Islam as outlined in the Quran, the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (Sunnah) and mainstream ‘Sunni’ Islamic scholarship. MAC’s understanding of Islam is one of balance and moderation, constructive engagement in society, focus on personal and communal empowerment, and establishing value-based organizations, as articulated in the writings of the renowned reformist, Imam Hasan Al-Banna.
Furthermore, this has been part of MAC’s bylaws which were approved by the CRA over 10 times whenever a change was made.
Despite this transparency, the audit heavily focused on this topic. MAC’s leadership clearly explained in the CRA audit interviews that MAC adopts an understanding of Islam that is explained by Imam Hassan Al-Banna but has no link to any organization such as the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood.
The CRA relies on discredited sources from Lorenzo Vidino and Thomas Quiggin to develop its framing of the Muslim Brotherhood. The CRA has refused to distinguish between religious ideology and organizational links. Furthermore, the CRA has failed to show how MAC’s resources benefit the Muslim Brotherhood.
The CRA relies on four unsolicited mass email invitations for innocuous conferences that were never responded to or attended by the organization. The CRA alleges these were international conferences linked to the Muslim Brotherhood.
The CRA takes concern with the personal involvement of a couple of MAC members supporting the democratic change in Egypt and supporting political parties and the presidential elections, despite the organization requesting its leadership to resign if they continue to be involved abroad.