Canadian Charity Accused of Funding Hamas Added to Federal Terror List
A Canadian charity accused of aiding terror group Hamas has been added to the federal government’s list of terrorist entities, Canada’s The Globe and Mail reported on Tuesday.
The government said it has grounds to believe that the International Relief Fund for the Afflicted and Needy Canada (IRFAN-Canada) has “knowingly carried out, attempted to carry out, participated in or facilitated a terrorist activity or is knowingly acting on behalf of, at the direction of or in association with such an entity.”
According to Public Safety Canada, the Mississauga-based charity transferred approximately $14.6 million to organizations associated with Hamas between 2005 and 2009. The government agency added that it is now a crime to “deal in the property or finances” of IRFAN-Canada.
“The Government of Canada is unwavering in its commitment to protect Canadians from the threat of terrorism,” Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney said in a statement. “By listing IRFAN-Canada, we are sending the strong message that Canada will not tolerate terrorist activities including the financing of terrorist groups. IRFAN-Canada has knowingly financed Hamas, a listed terrorist entity, for many years. The well-intentioned and charitable Canadians who sought to support humanitarian relief through this organization deserve better.”
Canada’s Revenue Agency said the charitable institution “provided 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.”
Yavar Hameed, a lawyer representing IRFAN-Canada, said about the charity’s addition to Canada’s terrorist list, “I think it is very much a political decision where there is no due process.”
On May 6, IRFAN-Canada hopes to appeal the revocation of its charitable status, which has been in effect since 2011.
“We’re days ahead of the first time we’re going to the Federal Court of Appeal,” Hameed said, adding that “this just slams the door” on the outcome.
According to Hameed, the relief organization has never been accused of abetting any terrorist acts. He pointed out that the government’s allegation, which IRFAN-Canada disputes, states that the charity allowed some money to be diverted to organizations controlled by Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
The charity ceased to function since losing its tax status and Hameed explained, “The office exists but there’s no paid staff. Just essentially a physical location.”