Canadian media is reporting that Liberal Party leadership candidate Justin Trudeau has defended his decision to speak at a conference sponsored by charity whose charity status had been revoked because of its funding of Hamas. According to a National Post report:
Dec 12, 2012 2:38 PM ET Liberal leadership candidate Justin Trudeau speaks to supporters at Cachet Restaurant in Newmarket, Ont., on Tuesday. Mr. Trudeau has defended his decision to speak at the conference. ‘Justin has full confidence in CRA making the proper determinations in such matters,’ his spokeswoman Kate Monfette said Wednesday. Twitter Google+ LinkedIn Email Comments More The Liberals came under fire on Wednesday over Justin Trudeau’s participation in an Islamic conference whose sponsor was stripped of its federal charity status last year for supporting Hamas, the outlawed terrorist organization. The Liberal leadership candidate has defended his scheduled speech at next week’s Reviving the Islamic Spirit conference in Toronto, and the Canadian Council on American Islamic Relations condemned attempts to ‘smear’ the gathering. But in a letter to Liberal Party of Canada president Mike Crawley, Friends of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre CEO Avi Benlolo said Mr. Trudeau’s presence at the event would lend credibility to supporters of Hamas. ‘Numerous members of FSWC have conveyed their alarm to me; they are wondering if there is a deeper meaning to his participation, and whether the Liberals are aligning themselves with a belief system that is contrary to traditional Liberal values,’ the letter reads. On Thursday, the Muslim Canadian Congress said it had sent letters to interim Liberal leader Bob Rae and Irwin Cotler, the party’s Justice and Human Rights critic, asking them to encourage Mr. Trudeau to skip the convention. ‘At a time when liberal Muslims across the world are fighting rightwing Islamists, it is sad to see the aspiring leader of the Liberal Party of Canada throw his weight behind those who would snuff out liberalism and stifle free speech in the name of Islam,’ MCC president Salma Siddiqui said. The conference, the largest of its kind in Canada, has been held annually for a decade but concerns surfaced after a Quebec blogger noted that one of the event’s sponsors is IRFAN-Canada, which lost its charity status in 2011 over its ties to Hamas. IRFAN-Canada is listed as a ‘diamond sponsor’ of next week’s Reviving the Islamic Spirit conference. Documents obtained Wednesday from the Canada Revenue Agency show that IRFAN, listed as a ‘diamond sponsor’ of the conference, was described by federal charities regulators as ‘an integral part of an international fundraising effort to support Hamas.’
A post from April 2011 reported that the Canaidan government had revoked IRFAN’s charity status over its funding of Hamas. Previous posts had reported on the suspension of IRFAN/Canada and discussed evidence of ties from IRFAN to Hamas fundraising.
- 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.