May 19, 2022

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The Passionate Pursuit of Law

National Muslim charity launching legal challenge of CRA audit, calling it Islamophobic


The Canada Revenue Agency's Ottawa headquarters in August 2021. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press - image credit)

The Canada Earnings Agency’s Ottawa headquarters in August 2021. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press – image credit score)

A nationwide charity that describes by itself as Canada’s greatest grassroots Muslim organization is launching a Constitution of Legal rights challenge in opposition to the Canada Profits Company, declaring that a a long time-long audit of the charity has been tainted by bias and Islamophobia.

The Muslim Association of Canada (MAC) ideas to serve the authorities with its official legal challenge these days.

MAC stated the audit, which commenced in 2015, poses an “existential menace” to the group mainly because it threatens to revoke its charitable standing and raises the risk of harming sanctions.

“An unfair final decision by the CRA will have an effect on the lives of hundreds of Canadians right away,” MAC chairperson Nabil Sultan told CBC Information.

Sultan mentioned the revocation of MAC’s charitable position would jeopardize expert services the firm delivers to additional than 150,000 Canadians who show up at colleges, mosques and group centres in its network.

“We want to see an audit that is not discriminatory and we want to be treated like any other spiritual charity in this place,” he included.

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The constitution challenge could test the federal government’s modern pledge to address systemic discrimination and Islamophobia within the community support.

“There’s no query that there is do the job to be accomplished inside of federal government to dismantle systemic racism and Islamophobia,” Primary Minister Justin Trudeau mentioned in July 2021 at the National Summit on Islamophobia.

“From the Canada Revenue Company to protection organizations, establishments must assist people, not goal them.”

CRA audit unfounded, charity argues

MAC describes the CRA audit of its finances as crystal clear proof of widespread systemic bias from Muslim-led charities.

The organization claimed the audit has pursued unfounded suspicions and promises of wrongdoing that very likely would not be used to charities related to other religions.

Attorney Geoff Corridor, who is representing MAC in its obstacle, explained the CRA has levelled unsubstantiated allegations versus the charity which include “innuendo” about inappropriate foreign ties and concerns about the charitable added benefits of its youth packages.

He reported CRA auditors also have raised issues about occasions to celebrate Eid — the holiday getaway marking the conclude of Ramadan — by arguing that the events are social in character, instead than religious.

“Consider for a second if a Christian business was told by the CRA that its Xmas get-togethers weren’t Christian plenty of,” Corridor mentioned.

Corridor mentioned he options to argue that the CRA audit violates sections two and 15 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which assure the appropriate to religious flexibility and equality underneath the regulation, respectively.

Corridor predicted it will be months ahead of the case is listened to in Ontario Outstanding Court docket, in element since of the complexity of the problem.

Islamophobia in govt

A 2021 report by the University of Toronto’s Institute of Islamic Research uncovered that Muslim charities are disproportionately targeted for audits by the CRA.

The report discovered structural biases that might be influencing the CRA audit course of action. They consist of the perception that Muslims are by some means “inherently international or outsider” and a reluctance to accept non-Christian pursuits as legitimately religious.

The federal governing administration has pledged to deal with all those fears.

In July 2021, Minister of Nationwide Income Diane Lebouthillier requested the Office of the Taxpayers’ Ombudsperson to “take a look at considerations raised by specified Muslim-led charities and engage other charitable businesses led by racialized communities about their encounters with the CRA.”

Sultan mentioned that though he hopes the government will deliver on its promised reform, the menace posed by the audit has to be addressed as shortly as attainable.

“The Muslim neighborhood has been loud and distinct with the governing administration that there is a problem, that there is prejudice and discrimination versus Muslims in governing administration establishments, and that we anticipate the federal government to act,” Sultan mentioned.



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