A coalition of civil liberties groups issued a report indicating the tax arm of the federal government is unfairly targeting Muslim charities, leading to a revocation of funding based on discrimination, media reports said Wednesday.
While the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) denies the charge, the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group (ICLMG) report cited statistics that tend to support the discrimination claims.
"The report shows that the Review and Analysis Division (RAD), a little know division of the CRA is targeting Muslim charities for audits, based on prejudiced and unsupported allegations of a risk of terrorist financing," according to the report obtained by Anadolu Agency. "Between 2008 and 2015, 75% of all charities revoked by RAD following these secretive audits were Muslim charities, harming the sector and impacting the larger Muslim community in Canada."
Yet not one Muslim charitable organization or its members have been charged with terrorist financing, according to the report. No more current figures were available because they have not been made public, said the ICLMG.
It is not the first time charges of Islamophobia concerning Muslim charities have been leveled against the CRA.
In May 2020, the Ottawa Islamic Centre had its charitable status revoked by the CRA because it said mosque speakers had pursued "activities that promote hate and intolerance."
The Canadian Council of Imams (CCI) said the center and two imams had no chance to refute the charges and the Council accused the CRA of Islamophobia.
“By falsely connecting two well-respected Canadian Imams from CCI to hate, intolerance, and terrorism, the CRA has driven fear in the Muslim community about the possible existence of Islamophobia in the CRA’s audit process and its auditors,” the Council contended.
The number of charities audited between 2008-2015 was 16 and eight lost their charitable status. Of the eight, six were Muslim charities
The charitable designation allows donors to claim the funds for income tax deductions, a powerful incentive to donate.
The ICLMG has established an online petition that demands, among other things, a suspension of "RAD's activities until a thorough, independent review has been concluded" of its practices, and a "full review of the anti-terror regulatory, policy and legislative landscape."
The petition will be presented to government political leaders, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
The ICLMG is a coalition of dozens of civil liberty organizations dedicated to promote and protect human rights in Canada./agencies