Canadian Gov’t Investigates ISNA for Terror Funding

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on whatsapp
Share on email

As CAIR-Canada runs from CAIR, the Islamic Society of North America is running from ISNA-Canada. Each is pointing to their independent registration as proof that their shared name is meaningless but, obviously, their previous (and common) branding didn’t happen by coincidence.

The Toronto Star broke the story that the Canadian government is investigating whether ISNA-Canada (ISNA-CAN) secretly funneled money to Islamist terrorists in Pakistan. At the very least, the government seems to have proof that the organization’s leadership is guilty of selfishly taking advantage of its donors.

Readers of the Clarion Project won’t be dropping their jaws. U.S. federal prosecutors labeled ISNA as an unindicted co-conspirator in a Hamas-fundraising trial, specifically identifying it as a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity. An internal Brotherhood 1991 memo similarly marks ISNA and multiple ISNA components among its fronts. One of the stated objectives is to use these fronts to create “an effective and a stable Islamic Movement led by the Muslim Brotherhood which adopts Muslims’ causes domestically and globally…”

The U.S. Muslim Brotherhood network, including ISNA, wasn’t set up just to pursue objectives inside America. It is part of a larger Islamist infrastructure that takes up causes around the world. These directions would make Pakistan a natural target. In ourarticle about Pakistan's influence operations in America, it is mentioned that the Pakistani ISI intelligence operation intertwined with ISNA as early as 1990.

ISNA-CAN’s website makes it clear that its agenda is continental and international. One of its stated missions is to “aid Muslim causes in the Muslim world by influencing the governmental policy of the U.S. and Canada and providing moral and material support.”

ISNA-CAN and its Development Foundation may be stripped of its non-profit status because the Canada Revenue Agency found evidence that it funneled over $280,000 to the Relief Organization for Kashmiri Muslims, an entity linked to the Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist group backed by the ISI intelligence service.

Hizbul Mujahideen also part of the broader Jamaat-e-Islami organization that is essentially the Muslim Brotherhood wing in Pakistan. The Islamic Circle of North America, ISNA’s fellow U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity, has strong links to Jamaat-e-Islami. One of its former secretary-generals is even being tried in absentia in Bangladesh for war crimes, having been accused a leading a killing squad during called Al-Badar (an offshoot of Jamaat-e-Islami) during Bagladesh’s war of independence from Pakistan.

The funding was sent over a period of two years (2007-2009) but lacked the required documentation for it. The Canadian government also found, in the words of the Toronto Star, “a host of other problems … including missing documentation, misleading financial reports and sending donations abroad to unapproved groups …” Manipulated photos were even provided to the auditors.

Unapproved groups received at least $535,000 from ISNA-CAN. Over half of that funding was transferred outside the country.

ISNA-CAN  also “appears to have engaged in a third-party receipting scheme” that is similar to the ISI operation in the U.S. we recently discussed. The Kashmir Relief Fund of Canada, which shared at least two top officials with ISNA-CAN, moved money to the ISNA Development Foundation, which then provided the receipts. This permitted donors to fund the Kashmir Relief Fund of Canada, but report that the money was actually given to ISNA-Canada.

The Pakistani group linked to Hizbul Mujahideen states that it assists the children of “Kashmiri Martyrs” by paying for repairs to houses damaged by Indian forces. The Holy Land Foundation, a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity shut down for financing Hamas, used very similar language. It said it was raising financial support for the children of Palestinian “martyrs.” ISNA, as mentioned, was also an unindicted co-conspirator in that trial.

The U.S.-based ISNA has also had questions raised about its tax filings. In August 1988, an informant inside the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood network provided the FBI with an ISNA document that “clearly states that ISNA has a political goal to exert influence on political decision making and legislation in North America that is contrary to their certification in their not-for-profit tax returns as filed both with the State of Indiana and with IRS.”

The U.S.-based ISNA immediately reacted to the Toronto Star expose with a statement titled, "ISNA Clarifies Its Position on ISNA Canada.” The bulk of the statement argues that ISNA Canada and its Islamic Development Foundation are registered as separate entities.

“There has been no links of authority or responsibility between the United States and Canadian organizations for a few decades, despite the similarity of names,” ISNA says.

It concluded, “We do hope that the government investigation of our namesake Canadian organizations will soon conclude with whatever action that may be needed …”

A look at ISNA-Canada’s listed affiliates shows it is part of the same network as the U.S.-based ISNA, even if it has separate leadership. It includes the Muslim Youth of North America, Muslim Students Association, the Canadian Islamic Trust Fund and the Muslim Youth of North America.

All four were also listed as “Constituent Organizations” on the U.S.-based ISNA’s website last year before it was renovated. In fact, the Muslim Youth of North America has said it exists “within the Islamic Society of North America.”

The three U.S.-based groups are all part of the same U.S. Muslim Brotherhood network that ISNA belongs to.  Each one is listed as a front in the aforementioned 1991 U.S. Muslim Brotherhood memo. A fourth affiliate of ISNA-CAN is the Muslim Communities Association, which is also identified in the memo. It is also affiliated with the Canadian branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), another U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity. CAIR’s predecessor is also mentioned in the 1991 memo.

Altogether, this means that the Indiana-based ISNA is downplaying its organizational connection to ISNA-CAN when it has the same name and four shared affiliates, for a total of associations with six common U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entities.

And if the Indiana-based ISNA really was separate from ISNA-CAN, it could probably have sued over the use of its name or at least demanded a name change. If the two are truly separate, it is in neither one’s interest to cause confusion.

Don’t let ISNA’s parsing of words blind you to the obvious: ISNA’s U.S.-based headquarters is tied to ISNA’s Canada-based headquarters.


Ryan Mauro is the ClarionProject.org’s National Security Analyst, a fellow with the Clarion Project and is frequently interviewed on Fox News.

Subscribe to our newsletter

By entering your email, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Meira Svirsky

Meira Svirsky is the editor of ClarionProject.org

Be ahead of the curve and get Clarion Project's news and opinion straight to your inbox