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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

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Canadian group linked to Hamas suspends operations

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A July 18 screen shot from IRFAN-Canada's website

TORONTO — The International Relief Fund for the Afflicted and Needy, IRFAN-Canada, is suspending operations, according to a recent report.

The move came after CIBC, the organization’s bank, said it would no longer provide it with banking services. A decision of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice upheld the right of the bank to end its relationship with IRFAN-Canada after providing it with reasonable notice. A four-month notice period expired in mid-July.

The court rejected IRFAN’s request for an injunction that would have required CIBC to continue providing banking services pending the resolution of its appeal of the CRA decision revoking its charitable status.

The court also ordered IRFAN to pay CIBC $10,000 in costs for its failed court challenge.

Speaking to the National Post, IRFAN’s lawyer, Naseer Syed, said, “IRFAN-Canada is choosing not to accept donations at this time because they are unable to transmit funds to the intended destinations. Therefore, without donations, they will be forced to suspend their humanitarian relief programs.”

Two years ago, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) stripped IRFAN of its charitable status. At the time, the CRA stated: “On the basis of our audit, we have concluded that IRFAN-Canada has ceased to comply with the requirements… for its continued registration.”

The CRA found that IRFAN breached various regulations, including issuing receipts containing false information.

The CRA went on to state that “our analysis of the audit information has led the CRA to believe that IRFAN-Canada provides support to Hamas, a listed terrorist organization. Our findings indicate that IRFAN-Canada provided over $14.6 million in resources to operating partners that were run by officials of Hamas, openly supported and provided funding to Hamas, or have been listed by various jurisdictions because of their support for Hamas or other terrorist entities.”

Despite announcing it was suspending operations, IRFAN’s website continued in operation as of July 18, with appeals for aid on behalf of people in Gaza, Syria, Somalia and Pakistan.

The next print edition of The CJN is Aug. 1.

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