An Islamist organization in Canada has obstructed the enforcement of anti-terror finance laws imposed after 9/11 and has convinced government officials to direct public funds to support Islamist-directed projects in the country. In particular, the organization has made liberal use of the “Islamophobia” charge to hinder investigations into Muslim nonprofit organizations accused of funding terror operations in the Middle East.
The organization in question, the National Council of Canadian Muslims, demonstrated its influence in 2017 when it drove Christine Douglass-Williams from her post on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation. Douglass-Williams, who was ousted from her post after the NCCM complained about her writings for Jihad Watch, said elected officials are unlikely to stand up to the NCCM for fear of being called “Islamophobic.”
“You likely won’t get a sitting Member of Parliament or active politician in this country to discuss the NCCM,” she said. “It’s a leper topic unfortunately which is a commentary in itself about the effectiveness of the ‘Islamophobia’ subterfuge. This fear of scrutinizing the NCCM has allowed it a blank check written by taxpayers.”
NCCM’s influence became further evident in June of 2021 when Canadian MPs unanimously voted to host an emergency summit to combat “Islamophobia” which took place the following month. The NCCM used the summit to boost its long-standing campaign to cripple the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), which had been auditing Muslim charities suspected of sending money to terror organizations overseas. The NCCM has long pushed for the repeal of the 2015 Anti-Terrorism Act, which established the Review and Analysis Division (RAD), a bureau within the CRA charged with preventing “the abuse of registered charities for the financing of terrorism.”
The CRA put itself on NCCM’s agenda after it shut down two Muslim Brotherhood-linked charities. In 2011, the CRA closed the International Relief Fund for the Afflicted and Needy-Canada (IRFAN Canada) for supporting Hamas, a listed terror organization by Canada and the United States. Three years later, the Canadian government listed IRFAN-Canada itself as a terrorist entity in 2014.
In 2013, the CRA revoked the charitable status of the Islamic Society of North America Development Foundation on suspicion of terror finance. The CRA found that the foundation “facilitated the transfer of resources that may have been used to support the efforts of a political organization…and its armed wing.” (Readers interested in learning more about CRA’s efforts to stop charities from financing terror overseas should see Submission: The Danger of Political Islam to Canada: With a Warning to America by Tom Quiggin.)
CRA’s successes didn’t sit well with NCCM. In April 2021, the organization produced a government-funded report which condemned CRA’s investigation into IRFAN’s operations, arguing, among other things, that Hamas has a separation between its political, social, and military wings.
The report set the stage for the attack on CRA at the “Islamophobia” summit in July. Prior to the summit, the NCCM issued a list of grievances and recommendations against the agency and called for a review of the RAD. In a nod to NCCM, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau signaled that his Minister of National Revenue, Diane Lebouthillier, should clamp down on the CRA, declaring that government agencies such as the Canada Revenue Agency “should support people, not target them.” Lebouthillier stated that CRA takes “systemic racism and discrimination…very seriously” and promised a CRA ombudsman would, “examine concerns raised by certain Muslim-led charities…about their experiences with the CRA.”
One year after the conference, the NCCM declared victory in a report documenting the Canadian government’s acceptance of its demands including a promise to spend $89.9 million over five years to “reform the current method of targeting terrorist financing within the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).”
Canadian politicians are reluctant to respond to NCCM’s campaign to cripple the CRA’s counter-terrorism efforts. Several FWI queries to Canadian MPs about the impact of NCCM’s influence on national security were ignored. One MP who did respond, Melissa Lantsman, deputy Conservative Leader, seemed reluctant to mention NCCM by name.
“CRA has the responsibility to scrutinize everyone equally to protect the integrity of our system and our tax dollars.” she said.
Speaking of tax dollars, NCCM has proven itself adept at convincing Canadian officials to pour funding into Muslim activism. As part of Canada’s Budget 2022, the government plans to pour $85 million into its National Action Plan on Combatting Hate, a plan apparently drafted by NCCM. Amongst its numerous initiatives, is the Canadian Race Relations Foundation (CRRF), which created the Task Force on Hate Crimes. The Executive Director of the CRRF, Mohammed Hashim, is also NCCM’s chair of their “Stronger Together” campaign.
NCCM keeps the campaign’s agenda hidden, but documents found on the presentation platform Prezi reveal a grassroots advocacy manual with established teams in 11 cities. NCCM encourages volunteers to, “Organize one or more community conversation/town halls/teach-ins to inform community about Bill C-51,” and “Meet local MPs face to face to discuss community issues. Start with Bill C-51.” Bill C-51 is Canada’s 2015 “Anti-terrorism Act.” NCCM wants it repealed.
NCCM bragged on Twitter of obtaining $5.6 million for a “Special Representative on Combating Islamophobia,” $4 million for the “Muslims in Canada Archives,” $85 million for a new “Anti-Racism Strategy and Nation (sic) Action Plan on Combating Hate.” It also boasted of its successful effort to interfere with the CRA’s enforcement efforts, which it passed off as an $89.9 million policy to “reform the current method of targeting terrorist financing in Canada.”
NCCM rejoiced over the government’s funding of Islamist requests in the Canadian budget for 2022, “NCCM fought hard to get funding…We got many of the policy recommendations that resulted from the 2021 National Action Summit on Islamophobia,” read an NCCM social media post.
The last few years have been a great run for a nonprofit whose parent organization, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), was an unindicted co-conspirator in one of the largest terror financing trials in US history, USA v. Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development. After this case, NCCM changed its name from the Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR.CAN) to one less reminiscent of its American counterpart and its Islamist roots in the Muslim Brotherhood. However, “We remain the same organization our constituents and partners have come to rely on,” read a press release from NCCM announcing the name change.
In a 2003 legal battle, a spokesperson for CAIR.CAN admitted that CAIR “‘has direct control’ over CAIR-CAN’s activities in Canada.”’ Up until its name change in 2013, Jamal Badawi served as a director for CAIR.CAN. Two different Muslim Brotherhood documents (both evidenced in the Holy Land trial) name Badawi. Point de Bascule reports that one of the documents, a memorandum, “encourages Muslim Brotherhood supporters to destroy the Western civilization from within” and names Badawi as “a leader of the North American Muslim Brotherhood infrastructure.” Around the time that CAIR.CAN changed its name to NCCM, Badawi’s name quietly disappeared from the organization’s list of administrators.
Tarek Fatah, founder of the Muslim Canadian Congress, finds the Islamist influence in Canada troubling for “secular or liberal Muslims who escaped the Jihadi tyranny of the Taliban, Iranian Ayatollahs, and Mullahs of Indo-Pakistan.”
“The Islamists in Canada are using classic Muslim Brotherhood tactics to establish themselves as the primary victims of racism and what they refer to as ‘Islamophobia,’” he said, noting that Canada’s politicians will not stand up to them but instead “submit to the whims of the Islamic theocracy.”
While Trudeau has aligned his government with Islamists, critics expect little resistance from the leading opposition. Pierre Poilievre, Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, schmoozes with NCCM too. In October, Poilievre tweeted a thank you to NCCM after attending an event organized by the Islamist group, stating: “Everyone in Canada deserves to practice their faith in peace, free from fear & persecution. Thank you to @nccm for organizing the event.”
Susannah Johnston is FWI’s investigative reporter.