Terror-linked group buying up property in Toronto

Muslim Association of Canada (MAC). at 2270 Speakman Drive in Mississauga, Ont. on Tuesday January 27, 2015. Dave Thomas/Toronto Sun/QMI Agency

Muslim Association of Canada (MAC). at 2270 Speakman Drive in Mississauga, Ont. on Tuesday January 27, 2015. Dave Thomas/Toronto Sun/QMI Agency

A Muslim umbrella organization that allegedly funnelled money to a Hamas-linked charity is buying up property from Quebec to Alberta.

QMI Agency conducted land-register searches that show the Muslim Association of Canada (MAC), based in the Toronto suburb of Mississauga, has bought at least 11 buildings in Ontario, Quebec and Alberta since 2006.

They're being converted into mosques, community centers and schools as the group's financial dealings catch the attention of the RCMP.

The group was named in a search warrant related to Project Sapphire, a probe into terrorist financing. Warrants indicates MAC sent nearly $300,000 in the 2000s to IRFAN-Canada, a group that raised millions for Hamas.

The Canadian government considers both IRFAN-Canada and Hamas to be terrorist organizations.

The Muslim Association of Canada remained a registered charity as of this week, having reported $16.1 million in revenues, and a nearly $5.8 million payroll, in 2013.

The group says its mission is to "establish an Islamic presence in Canada that is balanced, constructive, and integrated, though distinct."

Establishing that presence has included buying up more than $30 million of land and buildings across the country.

Two mosques in north-end Montreal were donated for free. The MAC Islamic Centre of Cold Lake, Alta., was purchased in November 2013 and assessed the following year at $220,900.

The largest known MAC acquisition is a six-story, $4.7-million building in Montreal's financial district that will house the Canadian Institute of Islamic Civilization.

The deal was closed last May and the institute will feature a library, a museum and "the largest mosque in downtown Montreal," according to its web site.

Recent calls to MAC have not been returned.

In November, QMI Agency went to a Muslim school in Montreal and spoke with Lazhar Aissaoui, who as recently as 2010 was listed as MAC's treasurer in online tax records. Aissaoui denied any current ties to the MAC and would not discuss the group's donations to IRFAN-Canada.

Meanwhile, MAC's expansion continues, with new facilities planned for Mississauga and Quebec City.

Tax records show the value of MAC's land and buildings in Canada doubled between 2009 and 2013.

They run the gamut from Masjid Toronto, a large downtown mosque frequented by hundreds every week, to places as small as a bungalow and two-car garage that doubles as the Islamic Centre of Waterloo, Ont.

The facilities have become hubs of prayer, Qu'ranic studies and sports activities for Muslims across Canada.

Other activities at MAC mosques aren't as innocuous.

Imam Ekrima Sabri, former Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, drew hundreds to the Laurentien cultural centre, a MAC facility in north-end Montreal, on April 7, 2009.

B'nai Brith tried to stop Sabri from speaking in Mississauga later that year, condemning the ex-mufti's "long history of promoting hatred against Jews."

Sabri, twice denied entry into the Netherlands, has denied the Holocaust, called Jews "cowardly creatures" and defended child suicide bombers.

"The younger the martyr, the greater and the more I respect him," Sabri told Egypt's Al-Ahram Al-Ahrabi newspaper in 2000.

In 2011, Laurentien cultural centre also hosted Abdurraheem Green, founder of the British-based Islamic Education and Research Academy. The British convert was barred from Australia and Quebec politicians tried and failed to have him banned from Canada as well.

A Sept. 11, 2012, video shows Green saying: "Why do you chop the hand off the thief? Why do you stone the adulterer and adulteress to death? All of this is to deter the people from being evil or committing evil."

In a 2006 blog entry, Green indicated that women who commit adultery deserve a "slow and painful death by stoning.-‹

In a 2005 interview with The New Zealand Herald, Abdurraheem admitted he once wrote: "dying while fighting jihad is one of the surest ways to paradise and Allah's good pleasure."

--With files from Hugo Joncas

MAC Real-Estate Expansion, year-by-year

Canadian Institute of Islamic Civilization
Montreal (under construction)
Purchased for $4.7 million

MAC Islamic Centre of Cold Lake (AB)
2014 assessment: $220,900.

Masjid Toronto at Adelaide
Purchased as a satellite to main Dundas mosque

MAC Islamic School
2015 assessment: $1,517,500

Centre Islamique de Verdun
Purchased for $950,000

Masjid Toronto at Dundas
Purchased from RBC following a six-year lease

Abu Bakr Siddique mosque
Purchased for $868,000

MAC Youth Centre
London, Ont.
2014 assessment: $839,890

Rose City Islamic Centre
Windsor, Ont.
2015 assessment: $7,546,000

Olive Grove
Mississauga, Ont.
2015 assessment: $6,820,000

Laurentien Community Centre
Purchased for $1 million

MAC Quebec Al-Rahma mosque
Quebec City
Rented space. Building project underway.

Muslim Association of Canada in 2013

  • Assets: $39,392,234
  • Liabilities: 8,254,913
  • Revenues: $16,184,942
  • Land and buildings in Canada: $30,891,955

Progressive value of MAC land and buildings in Canada

  • 2009: $ 16,329,624
  • 2010: $ 24,823,655
  • 2011: $ 28,912,281
  • 2012: $ 30,992,562
  • 2013: $ 30,891,955

Source: Canada Revenue Agency


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