May 28, 2020
Mississauga, Ontario: The Canadian Council of Imams (CCI) has called upon the Federal Minister of National Revenue Diane Lebouthillier to initiate an investigation into the existence of Islamophobic practices in the Canada Revenue Agency’s (CRA) Charities Directorate and the CRA’s use of its privileges as a regulatory agency to deliberately discredit respected Canadian Muslim leaders.
On August 9, 2018, the CRA Charities Directorate issued a decision revoking the charitable status of the Ottawa Islamic Centre and Assalam Mosque. Referenced in the revocation letter were allegations made against two well respected faith-based leaders in the Canadian Muslim community, namely, Dr. Abdullah Hakim Quick and Imam Said Rageah, both members of the Canadian Council of Imams (CCI). The CRA letter was shared with media outlets, and it was widely published, thus disseminating its allegations against the two imams to the wider Canadian public.
The allegations made against both imams are inaccurate, misleading or false.
The CRA Charities Directorate published incredibly offensive and severely damaging allegations about Dr. Quick and Imam Rageah based on evidence that would fail to meet even a low threshold of reliability. Particularly troubling is the CRA’s pervasive reliance upon unscrutinized, open-source third-party hearsay, its citing of untested and biased sources, and its disregard of widely available clarifications from both Imams.
Through its defamatory characterizations of Dr. Quick and Imam Rageah, the CRA has exhibited reckless indifference towards the truth in the allegations against both of these respected community leaders and the Muslim community at large by perpetuating harmful and toxic Islamophobic stereotypes.
By falsely connecting two well-respected Canadian Imams from CCI to hate, intolerance, and terrorism, the CRA has driven fear in the Muslim community about the possible existence of Islamophobia in the CRA’s audit process and its auditors.
The extreme level of negligence the CRA has shown in gathering and testing the veracity of its evidence, and releasing this information to the public, has caused severe impact on the livelihood, security, and reputation of Dr. Quick and Imam Rageah.
“I have served the Muslim community since 1984 in various positions and have contributed to dozens of public institutions including the University of Toronto, the Ontario Science Centre, and the ROM. With all this work, to be falsely reduced to a hate preacher based on innuendo and distortions by the CRA is devastating. It has caused irreparable harm and added to the atmosphere of Islamophobia and intolerance,” expressed Dr. Abdullah Hakim Quick.
“The CRA has labelled me, with no evidence, as a ‘preacher of hate’. I have suffered immensely due to the prejudiced actions of the CRA. The CRA has caused me financial distress by invoking fear in organizations to engage with me. Their false accusations about me have caused me to be flagged as I travel. The CRA has ruined my reputation as a respected Imam within both my Muslim and non-Muslim communities. I have now been outcasted from my own social circle which has been extremely detrimental to my mental and emotional state. The CRA has put my family and I at risk as they have falsely and wrongfully labelled me as a target for others to fear, ” said Imam Said Rageah.
CCI submitted a complaint to the Director General of the CRA Charities Directorate, Tony Manconi, in June 2019 but has not received a response.