Canadian media is reporting that that IRFAN, a Canadian organization that lost its charity status over its support of Hamas, has suspended its operations after its bank accounts were closed. According to a National Post report:
July 13, 2013 A humanitarian relief organization that lost its charity status two years ago over its alleged support for Hamas said Monday it was suspending operations after the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce won court approval to close its accounts.
The CIBC gave notice in May that it intended to stop providing banking services to the International Relief Fund for the Afflicted and Needy — Canada. The Ontario Superior Court of Justice upheld that decision, which went into effect on Monday.
Without a bank, the Toronto-based relief group, which spent $9-million on charitable activities in 2009, said it could no longer transfer money abroad for programs that include the support of orphans in the Palestinian Territories, Lebanon and Sudan.
Formed in 1998, IRFAN-Canada was mostly active in the Muslim world but it ran afoul of federal regulators, who revoked its charity status in 2011 ‘IRFAN-Canada is choosing not to accept donations at this time because they are unable to transmit funds to the intended destinations,’ the group’s lawyer, Naseer Syed, told the National Post. ‘Therefore, without donations, they will be forced to suspend their humanitarian relief programs.’
CIBC declined to discuss the matter. ‘We do not comment on client issues,’ said Kevin Dove, head of external communications at the Toronto-based bank, where IRFAN-Canada had held two accounts for a dozen years.
Formed in 1998, IRFAN-Canada was mostly active in the Muslim world but it ran afoul of federal regulators, who revoked its charity status in 2011. The Canada Revenue Agency said an audit had determined the group was an ‘integral part’ of an international fundraising effort that supported Hamas, a Palestinian terrorist group.
Our analysis of the audit information has led the CRA to believe that IRFAN-Canada provides support to Hamas ‘Our analysis of the audit information has led the CRA to believe that IRFAN-Canada provides support to Hamas,’ the Charities Branch wrote. ‘Our findings indicate that IRFAN-Canada provided over $14.6-million in resources to operating partners that were run by officials of Hamas, openly supported and provided funding to Hamas, or have been listed by various jurisdictions because of their support for Hamas or other terrorist entities.’
In addition, the CRA said it had found IRFAN-Canada videos at the group’s Mississauga office that ‘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.’
In January, IRFAN-Canada appealed the denial of its charity status to the Federal Court. The case was expected to be heard in the fall. While no longer a registered charity, the group had continued to operate as a non-profit organization.
- A 2004 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.