“A lot of these funds, I think, are directed to religious institutions or quasi-religious institutions. It’s very difficult in this country to start poking about, if you’ll forgive my English, religious institutions because of the respect that we have for freedom of religion.” Is it really freedom of religion to finance subversion and sedition?
“Foreign funds promoting ‘extreme Islamic jihadist’ views in Canada, national security advisor says,” by Stewart Bell, National Post, April 27, 2015:
Money is coming into Canada to promote extremist ideology and much of it is going to religious institutions, the prime minister’s national security adviser testified at a hearing Monday on the government’s counter-terrorism bill.
Asked by Senate national security committee chairman Daniel Lang about millions of dollars allegedly coming from Gulf states “in respect to the extreme Islamic jihadist interpretation of the Qur’an,” Richard Fadden said it was a problem.
“I think it’s fair to say, without commenting on the particular country of origin, there are monies coming into this country which are advocating this kind of approach to life,” responded Fadden, who works in the Privy Council Office.
“A lot of these funds, I think, are directed to religious institutions or quasi-religious institutions. It’s very difficult in this country to start poking about, if you’ll forgive my English, religious institutions because of the respect that we have for freedom of religion.”
The director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service until 2013, Fadden said that in his previous position he had raised the issue with representatives of countries “who might be involved in this and suggested to them that this was not helpful.
“The difficulty is in most cases the monies are not coming from governments; they’re coming from fairly wealthy institutions or individuals within some of these countries. It makes it doubly difficult to track,” he told committee members.
Canada Revenue Agency documents show that several religious organizations in Canada have received millions of dollars in donations from foreign donors. Since 2009, charities have been required to report publicly the amount of money they collect from outside Canada — but not the sources.
Professor Christian Leuprecht, a national security expert at Royal Military College and Queen’s University, said donors were trying to use their contributions to buy a platform to promote their own interpretation of religious doctrine.
He said it was difficult to say how much influence such donations really have in a liberal, tolerant society like Canada, but the concern was what could happen if foreign money shifted the mainstream, making it more narrow-minded.
The question of foreign funding has come up at previous Senate committee hearings. An earlier witness, Shahina Siddiqui, founder and executive director of the Islamic Social Services Association in Winnipeg, testified on Feb. 23 that her group was offered $3 million but refused it.
“The same thing with our mosques in Manitoba. We were offered money from Libya when we made our first mosque. We refused it,” she said. “We are telling organizations, ‘Do not accept funding from overseas, even if it sounds kosher, because there are strings attached to it, and we want to be a Canadian Muslim organization.’ ”…