Correction: The money earmarked will go to a multicultural program. A previous version of this story incorrectly described its focus. We regret the error.
The government of Canada plans to funnel $23 million into a multicultural program, Member of Parliament Iqra Khalid announced last week.
The money is an outgrowth of Canada's M-103 "Systemic racism and religious discrimination" bill that called on the government to "condemn Islamophobia and all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination."
It is not clear how the money will be divided, but Islamic Relief Canada and the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM), formerly known as CAIR-CAN, are poised to receive significant amounts.
That's a problem because both groups have been accused of supporting terrorists.
NCCM is the Canadian chapter of the Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR). Islamic Relief Canada is a branch of Islamic Relief Worldwide.
Both the NCCM (CAIR-CAN) and Islamic Relief Canada were identified as Muslim Brotherhood front groups in testimony to the Canadian Senate in 2015.
HSBC bank, based in the United Kingdom, announced in January 2016 that it would close Islamic Relief Worldwide's accounts and cut all links to it "amid concerns that cash for aid could end up with terrorist groups abroad." Swiss bank UBS did the same thing in 2012. The United Arab Emirates included Islamic Relief Worldwide and Islamic Relief UK on its 2014 list of terrorist organizations. In so doing, the UAE also noted that Islamic Relief Worldwide is a part of the global Muslim Brotherhood.
Israel also has listed Islamic Relief Worldwide as a terrorist funding organization, identifying Hamas as the intended recipient of the money. In its own charter, Hamas describes itself as "one of the branches of the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine."
In Canada, the Financial Post also removed Islamic Relief Canada from its 2014 "25 Charities of the Year" because "its international arm has been banned elsewhere (though not in Canada) for allegedly funneling funds to the terrorist organization Hamas."
Of note, Islamic Relief co-founder and former leader Essam al-Haddad figures prominently in a 2012 "who is who" of the Muslim Brotherhood issued by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. He was "elected to the [Brotherhood's] Guidance Office ... in December 2009," and ran the successful campaign of the Brotherhood's 2012 candidate for president, Mohamed Morsi, the Washington Institute said. He has been imprisoned since 2013.
Al-Haddad's son, Gehad al-Haddad, is a Muslim Brotherhood spokesman.
The case of the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) is also interesting. As noted above, the NCCM was originally founded as CAIR-CAN. According to its founder, Sheema Khan, CAIR's U.S. leadership "had direct control" over the Canadian chapter's activities. The U.S. Department of State identified CAIR-CAN as CAIR's Canadian chapter. CAIR-CAN acknowledged in 2003 that CAIR was its "parent organization."
The United Arab Emirates in 2014 labeled CAIR as a terrorist group. A federal judge in Dallas ruled in 2009 that the government possessed "ample evidence to establish the associations of CAIR ... with Hamas."
Meanwhile, Canadian MP Iqra Khalid is a supporter of Sharia and is Salafist in her orientation. While campaigning for Parliament, she claims she led the York University Muslim Student Association and wrote its new constitution after it took over the Pakistani Student Association. MSA officers should "strive to adhere to the Shari'ah," it says.
And while Khalid is uncovered in public and sports modern, Western clothing, her MSA is Salafist in orientation. Its constitution takes an uncompromising view toward religion: "Any innovations in religious matters or modernization will not be acceptable, as Islam is a way of life for all times and places and hence is not subject to being outdated or needing reform." As often noted, the Muslim Student Association of Canada and the USA was founded by Muslim Brotherhood members.
Iqra Khalid first appeared on the public radar in 2015 after announcing her Liberal Party candidacy for Parliament in Mississauga, Ontario. She received a key endorsement at an Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) property. Just two years earlier, Canada's Revenue Agency revoked the ISNA Development Foundation's charitable status after an audit found it had given money to a Kashmiri charity connected to the Jamaat-e-Islami terrorist group.
The decision to fund these organizations with government money raises several questions, given their links to terrorism funding and extremism. Why did Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government choose these organizations, ignoring reformist Muslim organizations such as Muslims Facing Tomorrow and the Canadian Thinkers Forum?
Since his 2008 election to Parliament, Trudeau has supported, funded and defended Islamist groups.
He has said that ISIS fighters returning to Canada would be a "powerful voice for deradicalization." This is his position, even though Canada has no deradicalization program and its Centre for Community Engagement and Prevention of Violence has been without a director for years.
Trudeau further believes that it is "Islamophobic" to oppose the return of ISIS fighters, so Canada is no longer providing the names of its returning ISIS fighters to the United Nations committee responsible for tracking international jihadists. Canada does not try to arrest returning ISIS fighters. Few face any consequences, even as one ISIS fighter living in Toronto openly bragged to the New York Times about executing prisoners.
This decision to again support Islamist front groups such as Islamic Relief and the NCCM (CAIR-CAN) is consistent with Trudeau's long-term support for lslamist groups in Canada. Combined with other actions such as his support for returning ISIS fighters to Canada, it adds another layer to the discussion on whether his handling of the national security file is competent.
Tom Quiggin is a former military intelligence officer, a former intelligence contractor for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and a court appointed expert on jihadist terrorism in both the Federal and criminal courts of Canada. He is a co-author of SUBMISSION: The Danger of Political Islam to Canada – With a Warning to America.