Ottawa Mosque Loses Tax-Exempt Status for Hate Speech

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) stripped one mosque of its tax-exempt status. Actually CRA has revoked the charitable status of the Ottawa Islamic Centre and Assalam Mosque on St. Laurent Boulevard over allegations it promoted "hate and intolerance." It was found that four speakers who appeared on numerous occasions between 2009 and 2014 are associated with the conservative Salafist school of Sunni Islam. They didn’t make hateful comments at those appearances but they were known as people who spread hate, which amounts to the same thing under Canadian law.

“The Organization, by allowing these individuals to make use of its facilities, and to speak to an audience consisting of its parishioners, is providing its guest speakers with a de facto endorsement,” said the auditors.

They were also critical of the board’s “passive approach” to speakers, relying on suggestions from members of its congregation, and “often approving speakers without any knowledge of the content of the lectures that were to be delivered, and in some cases allowing speakers to attend the mosque against the board’s wishes,” according to the documents.

“The Organization acknowledged that it allowed its premises to be used by individuals and groups with extremist views. The Organization recognizes that certain people made decisions about guest speakers and lecturers without appropriate due diligence and oversight.”

Ali Abdulle, a mosque administrator, said the allegations come as a shock and date back to a previous administration. "We have been devastated. It's like an earthquake," he said, adding that the mosque plans to fight the decision. "The mosque resources [have] never been used for any hate or any promoting hate."

Among those speakers, there’s Abu Usamah At-Thahabim, who was one of the subjects of a Channel 4 documentary called Undercover Mosque. The documentary included secret recordings of his sermons at Green Lane where he spoke in derogatory terms about non-Muslims, called women “deficient” in intelligence, and said gay people should be thrown from mountains.

Saeed Rageah was refused entry to Canada for past statements such as, “Every Muslim should be a terrorist.” Bilal Philips had been banned or deported from several countries including Australia, Bangladesh, Denmark, Germany, Kenya and the U.K. The fourth speaker mentioned by CRA is Abdullah Hakkeem Quick, an American preacher who was cited for his references to the "filth" of yahud (Jews) and kafirun (unbelievers), and for saying that the Islamic answer to homosexuality is death.

The revocation of charitable status means the mosque can no longer provide tax receipts, and it doesn't qualify for an income tax exemption or the HST rebate. The privileged position should be denied to other places of worship as well if, for example, they endorse some politician.

Photo Credits: Islam in Canada

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