The Canada Revenue Agency revoked the charitable status of the International Relief Fund for the Afflicted and Needy Canada (IRFAN) last week, saying it "is an integral part of an international fundraising effort to support Hamas."
The Toronto Star obtained a copy of a federal audit of IRFAN, which found the group sent $14.6 million to charities tied to Hamas between 2005 and 2009.
IRFAN-Canada is still permitted to function as a non-profit organization, but it no longer can issue tax receipts to its donors. The audit also found that IRFAN-Canada has redistributed more than $580,000 that has been raised for disaster relief such as the 2004 tsunami and the 2008 Pakistan earthquake to projects in the West Bank and Gaza. The audit said that IRFAN used "deceptive fundraising" so that it could send money to Hamas.
The group describes itself as "an international and humanitarian organization committed to alleviate the sufferings of needy worldwide."
But the audit's findings are strongly similar to what prosecutors proved about the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF), what had been the largest Muslim charity in the United States. While it touted its work in health care and education, records showed HLF illegally routed more than $12 million to Hamas through a network of charities controlled by the terrorist group.
IRFAN-Canada's promotional videos "demonize Israel, characterize the Arab-Israeli conflict as a religious war, appeal for all Arab and Muslim nations to join in the struggle against Israel and glorify martyrdom," the audit said.
This is not the first time that IRFAN-Canada has had legal problems. A 2002 tax audit revealed that it "maintained partnerships" with organizations that have direct connections to Hamas. In April 2010 IRFAN-Canada was given a one-year suspension for failing to maintain proper records.
The audit indicates that the Jerusalem Fund for Human Services, now defunct, and IRFAN-Canada were consolidated in 2001 by Rasem Abdel-Majid. The Jerusalem Fund was deemed to have connections with terrorist organizations in 2000 by the Privy Council. The consolidation was concealed, "leading us to consider the strong possibility that this exercise was intended to circumvent to the CRA's refusal to grant JFHS registration as a charity," the audit said.
IRFAN-Canada denies these accusations, however it acquired at least some of the Jerusalem Fund's assets.
The CRA said that IRFAN-Canada's behavior damaged the Canadian charity system's integrity.