B.C. mosque removes link to anti-Semitic website following questions
The website of a B.C. mosque that federal charity auditors said received funding from Qatar included a link to anti-Semitic content that urges an “Islamic jihad” against Jews, denounces democracy and approves the killing of ex-Muslims.
The Islamic Society of British Columbia, which operates a mosque near Vancouver that has hosted federal and provincial politicians, appeared to have removed the link from its homepage after Global News contacted its lawyer for comment.
The Islam-Canada.com website is registered to the Islamic Society of B.C.’s former president Saadeldin Bahr. Until Wednesday, the homepage linked directly to a Saudi website that disparages Jews and calls them “enemies.”
“The Jews are people of treachery and betrayal; it is not possible to trust them at all,” reads a post on the formerly-linked site, Islamqa.info, which is run by a conservative Saudi cleric. “The hour (the Day of Judgment) will not begin until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them.”
Meanwhile, another Islamqa.info entry calls democracy “a system that is contrary to Islam” and says “the main goal of jihad is to make people worship Allah alone.” A discussion on “why death is the punishment for apostasy” reads: “Whoever changes his religion, kill him.” As for homosexuals, it says to “drive them out of your town.”
While the Islamqa.info link was removed from the Islamic Society’s website, a second link similarly took readers to a web page with passages regarding “Fighting against the Jews.”
The Islamic Society of B.C. is a federally-registered charity. Its lawyer declined to comment on the website. Bahr, listed as the site administrator, is currently imprisoned for sexually assaulting a woman in the mosque building.
Martin Sampson, the communications director at the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, said he was horrified a Canadian charity was associated with calls to violence against Jews and the promotion of “hateful, anti-Semitic tropes.”
“This is utterly unacceptable and we encourage the relevant authorities to investigate,” he said Thursday.
WATCH: Global News has learned that a Canada Revenue Agency audit of the Islamic Society of B.C. shows tens of thousands of dollars of charitable money was spent for personal use. Rumina Daya has the details.
Asked about the website, the Canada Revenue Agency said charities were not permitted to violate Canadian public policy. “Activities that incite hate against particular groups, an offence under the Criminal Code, would be contrary to public policy,” the agency said in a statement.
Global News reported last week that the CRA had audited the Islamic Society of B.C. The audit, which covered the period Oct. 1, 2010 to Sept. 30, 2013, raised concerns about the Society’s “connection to and possible control by” the Eid Foundation in Qatar, which it said “is alleged to have provided support to terrorism.”
The Eid Foundation, which had wired tens of thousands of dollars to the B.C. charity, was “a member organization in the Union of Good, a global coalition of Islamic charities operated by Hamas,” the CRA said.
Auditors also alleged that when he was president, Bahr spent $126,000 on personal items such as a spa, jewelry and hair dye. But the CRA decided not to revoke the group’s charity status and instead imposed a $9,000 penalty for improperly issuing donation receipts, after the Islamic Society said it would remove Bahr from the board and improve its internal controls, financial oversight and record keeping.
A statement posted on the Society’s website Wednesday referred to “false allegations” about the audit and said the CRA had found no wrongdoing. The steps taken by the charity “were sufficient to ensure continued compliance with the charitable regime in Canada,” it said.
The Society was not involved in terrorism and the CRA had concluded there had been no wasteful spending, it added. “Had there been any, CRA would not have hesitated in closing down the organization,” the statement read.
The CRA said it could not discuss the charity for confidentiality reasons but added its letter to the charity had spelled out the “non-compliance issues identified during the audit.”
Tiny, oil-rich Qatar has been under pressure in recent months over allegations it bankrolls extremism. Qatar denies doing so. The Eid Foundation did not respond to emails. A statement on its website said that “under no circumstances” would it finance groups designated by Qatar or the UN as terrorists.
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