December 29, 2022 | Islamophobia in Canada was a combination of localized incidents of hate crimes and government policy that discriminated against Muslims, especially Muslim women who were left to choose between their faith and their jobs.

Institutional Islamophobia

2022 also provided examples of institutional Islamophobia, namely how anti-Muslim policies in the corporate sector, such as financial institutions, can negatively impact the growth and success of Muslim-led organizations. This year, the Muslim Association of Canada (MAC), Canada’s largest grassroots Muslim organization, launched a legal challenge against the Canada Revenue Agency. The government agency responsible for tax collection and oversight began an audit of the charity back in 2015. As the audit continues, MAC claims that the investigation is tainted with Islamophobia, and that a possible revocation of the organization’s charitable status would have severe impacts on the community, as the organization provides services to more than “150,000 Canadians who attend schools, mosques and community centers in its network.” The lawyer representing MAC stated that the CRA has “leveled unsubstantiated allegations against the charity which include ‘innuendo’ about improper foreign ties and questions about the charitable benefits of its youth programs.” The organization believes that anti-Muslim bias is to blame for the CRA’s allegations against it

In a 2021 report, University of Toronto’s Institute of Islamic Studies found that there is basis to MAC’s concern. In their study, researchers concluded that when the government’s “anti-terrorism financing and anti-radicalization policies are…operationalized by the CRA’s Charities Directorate and the Review and Analysis Division (RAD), they create the conditions for potential structural bias against Muslim-led charities.” The report found that the government’s “risk-based assessment” model associates 80 percent of all terrorist financing risk with identifiably Muslim organizations. In 2021, the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group also published a report analyzing institutional bias and structural discrimination when it comes to government policy regarding finances, specially noting that the Review and Analysis Division (RAD), a division of the CRA, is “targeting Muslim charities for audits, based on prejudiced and unsupported allegations of a risk of terrorist financing.” The study found that “although Muslim charities represented 0.47% of registered charities in 2015, from 2008-2015, 75% of all charities revoked by RAD were Muslim charities.”

Read the full article: 2022 Islamophobia in Review: Canada – Bridge Initiative (georgetown.edu)

Mobashra Tazmal, Bridge Initiative

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