Judge expresses sympathy, but rules audit of Muslim charity should run its course
Sept 14, 2023 | The Globe and Mail
In his ruling, Justice Markus Koehnen said while he is sympathetic to many of the Muslim Association of Canada’s arguments, a court should not involve itself in a government body’s process while it is still playing out.
“In some respects, the current status of the audit can be seen as a work in progress,” Koehnen wrote. “Intervening now would be akin to the court interfering in the middle of a process and telling a party that it could not think a certain thought as it was working through a problem.”
The association, a grassroots Muslim charity, contends that a long-running revenue agency audit of its activities is fundamentally tainted by systemic bias and Islamophobia.
The association had asked the court to halt the audit on the grounds it violates Charter of Rights guarantees of equality and freedom of religion, expression and association.
The federal government argued the case should be dismissed, saying the revenue agency’s selection of the association for an audit and the subsequent examination do not infringe Charter rights.
The association, known as MAC, promotes community service, education and youth empowerment and says over 150,000 Canadians use its mosques, schools and community centres each year.
While applauding elements of the court ruling, the association is considering an appeal, saying Thursday the decision places Canadians at the mercy of potentially biased government action.
The court ruling comes amid public scrutiny of the Review and Analysis Division of the revenue agency’s charities directorate, which is conducting the audit.