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B’nai Brith Disturbed by Inaction on Pro-Terrorist Activities by Charities

An image from the Imam Ali Islamic Centre’s event (YouTube)

Feb. 11, 2021

TORONTO – B’nai Brith Canada is raising the alarm over an apparent lack of action by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) against charities that have used their resources to glorify a slain terrorist leader.

In June 2020, B’nai Brith complained to the CRA and the Minister of National Revenue, Diane Lebouthillier, about a number of Greater Toronto Area mosques that mourned the death of Qasem Soleimani, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ (IRGC) Qods Force, a designated terrorist entity in Canada.

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Since then, there is no public indication that the CRA or the Minister has taken any corrective action. By contrast, also in June, the Charity Commission for England and Wales swiftly issued an official warning to a London mosque that had similarly lionized Soleimani, and indicated that it would lose its charitable license if the activity continued.

Evidence has now emerged that the Imam Ali Islamic Centre in Toronto, one of the mosques exposed in B’nai Brith’s June report, has in fact hosted a second event glorifying Soleimani. One speaker present described Soleimani in Farsi as “Islam’s greatest martyr,” while another sang hymns comparing him to heroic religious figures in Shia Islam. The ceremony also included a solemn reading of Soleimani’s will, as well as a sermon by local imam Alaaeddin Abulhassan, who emphasized that “There is no separation between prayers and jihad.”

Though footage of the event was only uploaded to YouTube in September of 2020, it appears to have taken place around Feb. 12, the 40th-day anniversary of Soleimani’s demise.

“The repeated misuse of charitable funds to praise terrorist leaders is an embarrassment to Canada’s charitable system, and must be corrected by the CRA,” said Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer of B’nai Brith Canada.
“However, it also raises uncomfortable questions about whether Canada’s system of terrorist designation is working. How effective is designating a group as a terrorist entity, if charitable funds can still be used to glorify its leadership?”

Last week, the Government of Canada officially added 13 new groups to its list of terrorist entities, including four far-right groups, five ISIS affiliates, three al-Qaeda affiliates, and a Kashmiri Islamist group. In its news release accompanying the listing, Public Safety Canada noted that “A listing can also support the denial or revocation of a Canadian organization’s charitable status if it maintains connections to listed entities.”