Controversial Islamic groups receive Canada Summer Jobs Grants

(This article originally appeared in the Toronto Sun)

By: Candice Malcolm 

The controversial Canada Summer Jobs Grant program is funding an Islamic group with a history of supporting terror groups and another with a history of anti-gay rhetoric, the Sun has learned.

According to a government database listing recipients of the Canada Summer Jobs grant, both the Canada Arab Federation (CAF) and the Anatolia Islamic Centre have been approved for federal funding in 2018.

In 2009, CAF was de-funded by over the group’s extremism and support for terrorist groups – a decision made by the previous Harper Conservative government and backed up by a federal judge.

CAF had received a grant through the department of immigration to provide English lessons for newcomers, but the contract was pulled when then-immigration minister Jason Kenney found out about the funding.  

Kenney wrote a letter to CAF informing them that funding would be pulled because of the group’s “promotion of hatred, anti-Semitism and support for the banned organizations Hamas and Hezbollah.”

Kenney said that CAF’s “president attacked (former Liberal leader) Bob Rae because his wife is Jewish.”

“From our point of view, these groups do not deserve and have no right to taxpayers’ dollars to promote their kind of extremism,” said Kenney.

The Canadian Arab Federation appealed the decision, but a Federal Court judge ruled in favour of the Harper government, determining that Kenney acted “reasonably” when he cut federal funds.

The Anatolia Islamic Centre also has a history of controversy. The Centre’s Imam made headlines in 2013 for anti-gay comments caught on tape.

Imam Mustafa Khattab was asked about homosexuality during a lecture at the Edmonton Islamic Academy.  Khattab, who is still listed as “the Imam of the Anatolia Islamic Centre,” tells the room of young students that being gay is like having a disease that requires “a special treatment.”

“For me, someone who is homosexual is like someone who has diabetes or someone who has cancer or aids,” he said, noting he doesn’t like to be associated with gay people. 

When the video surfaced, current Trudeau Liberal MP Kent Hehr called for the school to lose its $4 million in taxpayer funding.

“If you want to accept public dollars to fund your private school, then you have to follow the rules and regulations – it can’t be your own personal fiefdom to present your own values,” said Hehr, who was the Liberal provincial education critic in the Alberta legislature at the time.

Under the Trudeau government, the Canada Summer Jobs Grant has become controversial and something of a ‘value’s test’ for would-be recipients. 

To be considered for this grant, groups must pledge to protect LGBT rights and to uphold a women’s choice to have an abortion. Many organizations, particularly religious groups who believe in the sanctity of life and oppose abortion, could not morally sign the attestation and therefore lost access to this fund. 

Summer camps, soup kitchens and homeless shelters who do not engage in religious or political activities are being punished over this Liberal attestation. 

Neither the Canadian Arab Federation nor the Anatolia Islamic Centre immediately responded to questions from the Sun about their position on abortion or whether they signed the pro-abortion and pro-gay rights attestation.

According to al-Islam.org, an authoritative source and digital Islamic Library Project, “in Islam, it is forbidden (haram) to abort the fetus.” 

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