Canadian Jewish media is reporting further details on the suspension of a Canadian charity known as the International Relief Fund for the Afflicted and Needy-Canada (IRFAN/Canada-Canada). According to a report in the Jewish Tribune:
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) suspended the authority of the International Relief Fund for the Afflicted and Needy (IRFAN)-Canada to issue charity receipts on April 13. The suspension is to last one year. The CRA said in a press release that the charitable organization failed to comply with Income Tax Act requirements for book-keeping and audits. “A charity that has been suspended has no authority to issue donation receipts for income tax purposes for gifts it may receive during its suspension,” said the government agency in its release. “Also, during the suspension, the charity is deemed not to be a qualified donee, prohibiting other registered charities from making gifts to it during that period.” Based in Mississauga, IRFAN describes itself on its web site as an “international relief and humanitarian, non-profit, charitable organization, registered in Canada since 1998 and actively involved in the alleviation of human suffering.” It adds that it was established “to cope with the greater demands of the needy in the world.” It purports to help the poor in numerous countries including ‘Palestine,’ Lebanon, Afghanistan, Iraq, Algeria, Guyana, Sudan, Pakistan, South Asia, Niger, Albania, Algeria, Bosnia, Jordan, Sierra Leone and even Canada.
- A 2004 a report of the Israeli Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, close to Israeli military intelligence, that described IRFAN/Canada as part of the worldwide Hamas fundraising network.
- The the organization was one of the original members if the Union of Good, a coalition of Islamic charities that provides financial support to both the Hamas “social” infrastructure, as well as its terrorist activities and headed by global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi.
- In May 2007, IRFAN/Canada was named by US prosecutors as part of the Global HAMAS financing mechanism in the Holy Land Terrorism terrorism financing trial.
Although IRFAN has claimed that the suspension is solely a procedural matter, the Tribune suggests that the Canadian government is concerned about ties between IRFAN and terrorist groups:
But there is more to the story, even if the federal government can’t discuss it. “There is very little we can say about any particular taxpayer,” Caitlin Workman, a CRA spokesperson, explained to the Jewish Tribune. “The privacy laws in the Income Tax Act forbid us from saying much at all.” Though IRFAN-Canada denies it, and though it launched a defamation lawsuit to clear its name, there have been allegations that the organization is a fundraising front for Hamas, including a 20004 report by the Israeli Intelligence and Terrorism Information Centre (IITIC). More recently, according to an article in the internet-based Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Report, in May 2007, IRFAN-Canada “was named by US prosecutors as part of the Global Hamas financing mechanism in the Holy Land terrorism financing trial.” But that is all separate from the CRA’s decision to suspend charitable status, says Naseer Syed, a Toronto-based lawyer for IRFAN. “That is not the issue at hand.” Though he may be right in the narrow legal sense, a 24-page letter from CRA to IRFAN lawyer Terrance Carter, dated April 6, 2010, makes several references to the government’s continued concerns about IRFAN alleged ties to terrorist groups.
The Tribune also reports that IRFAN is a plaintiff in a $12 million defamation suit centered on allegations that the organization is tied to terrorism.