Guests with 'misogynistic, homophobic, racist' views cost Canadian mosque its charitable status
The Ottawa Islamic Centre and Assalam Mosque, which is one of the biggest mosques in the Canadian capital, had its charitable status revoked in July, after officials from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) expressed concerns in a report over dodgy financing and a roster of guest speakers who seemed to “promote hate and intolerance.”
“Many of the views expressed by the organization’s speakers are misogynistic, homophobic, racist and/or promote violence,” the CRA Charities Branch wrote in a letter sent to the mosque president and obtained by the Global Times.
The audit covered the mosque’s financial years 2012-2013.
Additional CRA documents seen by the Global Times specifically mention visits by Abu Usamah At-thahabi, Bilal Philips, Hakim Quick and Saed Rageah, all of whom had spoken at the Ottawa mosque one or more times.
While Assalam mosque officials said the CRA had not alleged that any of the guest speakers had made hateful comments while at their mosque, the comments had been made elsewhere.
One speaker, Bilal Philips, was described as “anti-Semitic, intolerant and contrary to integration,” by the CRA, and has been denied entry into several countries, including Australia, the UK, Kenya, Bangladesh, the US and Germany.
Another, Usamah At-thahabi, who spoke at three engagements at the mosque between December 2012 and April 2014 has in the past been recorded advocating hateful attitudes.
An undercover investigation into British mosques by the UK’s Channel 4 in 2007, recorded At-thahabi advocating that gays should be thrown “off a mountain,” and that women, “even if she has a PhD” were intellectually inferior to men.
He has also spoken out against non-believers, or kuffar: “Not a single person here from the Muslims loves the kuffar, whether those kuffars are from the UK or from the US. We love the people of lslam and we hate the people of kuffar.”
Mosque officials have since denied that they have been promoting extremism, attributing the trouble to when two hardline board members – Ahmed Hassan and Suleiman Osman Hersi – ran the organization for a number of years after the death of founder Mohamed Rashad Moalimishak in 2009.
During that time Hassan and Hersi booked the speakers, usually without consulting other board members and that now all speakers are pre-screened, according to the Ottawa Citizen.
Calling the CRA’s action “politically motivated”, Mosque treasurer Ali Abdulle described the news as “devastating” to the community.
“It was like an earthquake. But what can we do?”
In addition to the extremist speakers, CRA documents also raised concerns over questionable financing and missing email and phone correspondence at the mosque. In 2012, the mosque paid CND$54,000 to individuals for “services rendered” but didn’t issue any T4 tax slips for salaried employees.
In 2013, this more than doubled to over CND$118,000 to individuals, again without any issuing of T4s.
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