Politics

Canada Revenue Agency's targeting of Muslim charities amounts to discrimination, says civil liberties group

A national civil liberties coalition says a secretive division of the Canada Revenue Agency is unfairly targeting Muslim charities for audits based on flimsy reasoning, amounting to discrimination.

Report finds 75 per cent of the organizations whose charitable status was revoked were Muslim charities

The International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group says the Canada Revenue Agency is auditing Muslim charities in a discriminatory fashion. (Justin Tang / The Canadian Press)

A national civil liberties coalition says a secretive division of the Canada Revenue Agency is unfairly targeting Muslim charities for audits based on flimsy reasoning, amounting to discrimination.

A newly released report by the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group says the Review and Analysis Division of the revenue agency's charities directorate works with national security agencies to carry out the audits, with little accountability or independent review.

The report says that from 2008 to 2015, 75 per cent of the organizations whose charitable status was revoked following division audits were Muslim charities, and that at least another four have seen their status pulled since then.

It says that despite these revocations, not a single Muslim charitable organization, or individual associated with one, has been charged with a terrorist financing crime.

The Ottawa-based civil liberties monitoring group is a coalition of dozens of Canadian civil society organizations established to protect and promote human rights and civil liberties in the context of national security and anti-terrorism laws.

In an initial response to questions about the report, the Canada Revenue Agency said it does not select registered charities for audit based on any particular faith or denomination. The CRA added that it is firmly dedicated to diversity, inclusion and anti-racism.

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