July 2017 News

Canada Cracks Down On Terror NGOs Funding 'Kashmir' Militancy

22 July 2017
India Today
Geeta Mohan

New Delhi: After the designation of Syed Salahuddin as global terrorist, the international community is now waking up to the menace of terror funding under the garb of the 'Kashmir' cause. In the latest, Canada has revoked the 'charity' status of ISNA Islamic Services of Canada for 'non compliance' according to the notice given by Canada Revenue Agency. This is the second organisation affiliated to the Islamic Services of North America-Canada (ISNA-Canada) that has been under the scanner of Federal regulators. Four years ago, another affiliate the ISNA Development Foundation lost its charity status over fundraising for a Pakistani relief group linked to militancy in the disputed Kashmir region. The Canadian agency took action after the recent audit cited possible funding of Pakistan militant organisation, Hizbul Mujahideen. The money collected by Toronto-based Jami Mosque was further given to ISNA to be sent to organisations that support and fund militants. According to the audit findings which India Today has accessed, the organisation 'issued donation receipts for a total of USD340,516, under one of three donation categories: 'Relief', 'Zakat', or 'Masjid'.' The agency added that the 'funds raised by Jami Mosque's 'Relief' fund were collected by the Mosque in cooperation with the Canadian non-profit organisations, with the ultimate goal of sending the raised funds to a Pakistan-based non-governmental organisation entitled the Relief Organization for Kashmiri Muslims (ROKM)'. CRA Charities Directorate, the nodal agency, looked into where the funds were going, what was ROKM using it for and wrote in its newly-released records, 'Our research indicates that ROKM is the charitable arm of Jamaat-e-Islami, a political organization that actively contests the legitimacy of India's governance over the state of Jammu and Kashmir, including reportedly through the activities of its armed wing Hizbul Mujahideen,' the CRA wrote. Speaking to Mail Today, Sean Craig, a journalist with Global News who has been tracking this story said, 'In both cases they had their status revoked because the CRA had concerns about the way they had maintained their books which had to do with how they received the charitable donations and of course the most striking of the allegations that they made was that they had through a mosque raised funds remitted to a Kashmiri relief organisation which as is reported has ties with the Hizbul Mujahideen.' Outlining the audit findings in a letter to ISNA Islamic Services , federal officials said Hizbul Mujahideen had been listed as a 'terrorist organization by the Council of the European Union and the government of India'. Adding, 'Given the identified commonalities in directorship between ROKM and Jamaat-e-Islami and the Hizbul Mujahideen executive committee, concerns exist that the funds collected and disbursed as part of this relief fund may have been used to support the political efforts of Jamaat-e-Islami and-or its armed wing Hizbul Mujahideen.' A timely move that has come about after all the diplomatic engagement by India to reach out to the highest levels of government machinery in the world to impress upon the leadership on the need to freeze funds that forment unrest and back militants. It also helpled matters that Syed Salahuddin, chief of Hizbul Mujahideen, was placed on the US State Department's list of designated terrorists on the 26th of June. This further emphasises the importance that Canada and India attach to fighting terrorism and comes ahead of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's visit to India.