Millions of dollars are flooding into Canada from Gulf states to promote a radical Islamist agenda, according to testimony by the prime minister's national security adviser, the National Post reports.
"I think it's fair to say, without commenting on the particular country of origin, there are monies coming into this country which are advocating this kind of [Islamist extremist] approach to life," Richard Fadden said Monday during a national security hearing concerning a new counter-terrorism bill.
Fadden, a former director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, said that large sums of money are sent to religious-affiliated institutions in Canada to promote an "extreme Islamic jihadist interpretation of the Qur'an."
He also described the obstacles to tracking how the money is spent because of Canada's respect for religious freedom.
"The difficulty is in most cases the monies are not coming from governments; they're coming from fairly wealthy institutions or individuals within some of these countries. It makes it doubly difficult to track," Fadden said. It is "quite difficult" to determine where they money ends up.
Last year, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) raided the offices of the International Relief Fund for the Afflicted and Needy (IRFAN-Canada) after federal auditors accused the Muslim charity for transferring $15 million to Hamas. The Canadian government subsequently added IRFAN-Canada to its list of banned terrorist organizations.
IRFAN-Canada lost its charity status in 2011 following a Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) audit that exposed the organization as an "integral part" in Hamas' international fundraising infrastructure.
The issue of foreign Islamist financing has been the subject of previous Canadian Senate committee hearings. In February, Shahina Siddiqui, executive director of the Islamic Social Services Association in Winnipeg, testified that her organization refused $3 million dollars in donations from overseas "because there are strings attached to it, and we want to be a Canadian Muslim organization."
A 2004 report by the Council on Foreign Relations revealed that Saudi Arabia is promoting its brand of radical Islamist ideology in Canada by funding certain Islamic institutions. The Saudi government acknowledged that it funds Muslim institutions in Canada, including mosques in Ottawa and Calgary and an Islamic center in Quebec.
The task force said that Saudi Arabia spent hundreds of millions of dollars to finance 1,359 mosques and 210 Islamic centers around the world.
"This massive spending is helping to create the next generation of terrorists and therefore constitutes a paramount strategic threat to the United States ... This massive spending is an integral part of the terrorist financing problem. It fosters virulence and intolerance directly at the United States, Christians, Jews and even other Muslims," the report said.