Posted on March 17, 2015
As Canadians near the deadline for submitting our 2014 annual tax returns the following bulletin takes on particular significance. Did you know that charitable donations were once the largest source of terrorist funding and remain a major income stream for terrorist groups today? According to the London-based anti-radicalization think-tank the Quilliam Foundation, half the UK’s humanitarian donations to Syria via smaller charities end up in the hands of ISIS and other Islamist groups.
And don’t think this is somebody else’s problem. There are many incidents of terrorist groups using false charity schemes to raise funds right here in Canada. Often, there is an element of affinity fraud associated to these schemes with diaspora populations being a favourite target.
Last year the Globe and Mail reported that the federal government added the Ontario-Quebec based charity International Relief Fund for the Afflicted and Needy to its list of international criminal organizations after an RCMP investigation determined that the charity funneled $14.6 million to Hamas between 2005 and 2009. This followed similar investigations in Ontario and Quebec involving Canadian charities raising money for the Tamil Tigers.
So, before you make your charitable donations, do your research. The Canada Revenue Agency operates a Charity Listing search engine to help you research your potential charity. The search engine will confirm if a Canadian charity is registered (and therefore eligible to issue official donation receipts) and allow you to view the charity’s contact information. Check it out here: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/chrts-gvng/lstngs/menu-eng.html
Also, the RCMP provides Canadians with a list of helpful tips which you can apply to your due diligence check on prospective charities. Check it out: http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/scams-fraudes/char-cara-donation-eng.htm
It’s bad enough when good-hearted individuals lose their hard-earned money to fraudsters posing as charitable organizations. It’s that much worse when that money is converted to weapons, ammunition, explosives, and other support for terrorist groups slaughtering townships and destabilizing entire regions.
So, take some time, exercise some due diligence, and make sure that your donation gets where you intend it to go.