Canada revokes terror-linked NGO’s charitable status

Canada has revoked an NGO's charitable status after proof that it was funding Pakistan terror groups. India Today has accessed documents of the Canadian revenue agency putting the NGO - Islamic Services of North America and Canada - on notice.

The NGO, with links to Pak-based Jamaat-e-Islami, was rooting funds generated at mosques to Kashmir terror groups like Hizbul Mujahideen.

Canadian authorities informed ISNA Islamic Services in March this year that they intended to revoke the NGO's charity status for "not complying" with the Canadian law and for failing to demonstrate that it used its funding for charitable purposes.

The Canada Revenue Agency further went on to say that they had been able to uncover links between ISNA Islamic Services and Jamaat-e-Islami, a Pakistan-based political group that is widely considered to be the parent organisation of the Hizbul Mujahideen.

The CRA discovered several issues during the audit, including evidence that ISNA Islamic Services facilitated donations that may have ended up in the hands of Hizbul Mujahideen (HM), a Kashmir-based militant group.

According to the CRA report, the Toronto-based Jami Mosque raised and transferred funds to the ISNA Development Foundation "for remit" to the Relief Organization of Kashmiri Muslims (ROKM), a "charitable arm" associated with HM. "Given the identified commonalities in directorship between ROKM and Jamaat-e-Islami and the Hizbul Mujahideen executive committee, concerns exist that the funds collected and disbursed as part of this relief fund may have been used to support the political efforts of Jamaat-e-Islami and/or its armed wing Hizbul Mujahideen," the CRA said.

Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) is designated as a terrorist organization by the European Union and India. In June, the State Department put HM's leader, Syed Salahuddin, on its terrorist designations list, citing his threats to train suicide bombers in Kashmir and HM's responsibility for several deadly terrorist attacks.

This development comes four years after Canadian authorities revoked ISNA Development Foundation's charity status for similarly raising funds that may have reached militants in Kashmir. In July 2013, The Toronto Star ( reported that ISNA-Canada may have funneled $280,000 to ROKM.

The 2013 CRA audit found numerous issues within the ISNA Development Foundation, including missing documentation, misleading financial reports, and sending donations abroad to unapproved groups. The ISNA affiliated organization engaged in these activities despite a stated purpose of serving the poor and needy in Canada.

A 2010 CRA audit found that ISNA-Canada itself misused more than $600,000 in donor funds.

A "very small portion . . . is distributed to the poor and needy and the major portion is spent on the administration of the centre," concluded the 2010 audit. "Spending for personal expenses out of the charity's funds is unethical," the auditor wrote, saying it is "tantamount to misappropriation of funds."

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