Canada: Who, Please, Are We Helping?

by Sohail Raza
September 7, 2016

At this fraught time in the history of Islamist radicalism, extremism and terrorism, it is important that Canadian public authorities — especially the police and security services — not inadvertently confer legitimacy and credibility on organizations and individuals whose histories and associations raise legitimate questions about their ideological background, links and agendas.

One way in which authorities unintentionally assist in building the credibility of undeserving groups and individuals is by sponsoring and attending meetings and events involving such persons and organizations. It is therefore important for those in positions of authority to acquit themselves properly of their responsibility to meet due diligence obligations, when it comes to screening those involved in such events.

On April 10, 2016, police acknowledged that it had been an error to invite a controversial Muslim Group, the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM), to an event organized by the Council’s Communications Director, Ms. Amira Elghawaby, and attended by the Durham Regional Police Service and the Regional Municipality of Durham, Ontario. The event, on March 31, 2016, was described as a workshop, “Human Differences: Islamophobia,” and was to be attended by employees of the Regional Municipality of Durham.

There are many, including the Council for Muslims Facing Tomorrow (MFT), who strongly believe that the NCCM is an unsuitable connection for Durham Regional Police Services and Durham Region to maintain, and to have participated in a public, tax-funded proceeding.

In this regard, various, apparently credible, sources have made claims and observations along the following lines:

The National Council of Canadian Muslims was established as the Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Canada, CAIR-CAN, CAIR.CAN), the Canadian chapter of the American-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). CAIR, a Saudi-funded organization that was designated an unindicted co-conspirator in the successful Holy Land Foundation prosecution, often described as the biggest terror-funding trial in United States history. Despite the court’s misgivings about the government’s having made the designation public, the court upheld the unindicted co-conspirator designation imposed on CAIR.

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