The Islamic Society of North America – Canada Branch (ISNA) 1
This organization is the striking community arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in North America 2. It was founded in 1963, in the US state of Indiana and had been known as the “Muslim Students Association” (1963-1981). This organization started rapidly to be active in Canada, until it controlled a large number of mosques and Islamic centers in the country. Through those mosques and Islamic centers the Islamic Society of North America was able to influence the public opinion of the Muslim communities in Canada, especially in the electoral entitlements.
The parent organization was founded in 1982 through the joint effort of four organizations:
- The Association of Muslim students in the US and Canada (MSA)
- Islamic Medical Association (IMA)
- Association of Muslim Sociologists (AMSS)
- Association of Muslim Scientists and Engineers (AMSE)
Before that, in 1979, a committee of the founding organizations of “ISNA” invited the architect Gulzar Haider to design a headquarters mosque for the association in Plainfield. The project had been completed in 1981 and Muslims began to use the mosque since 1982. The mosque includes a chapel, a library and an administrative offices.3 The overall costs of the project were several million dollars. The Muslim Brotherhood was able to finance the project by using funds collected from donations and international supporters, that the association did not disclose.
Today the organization „Islamic Society of North America“ manages financial assets in millions of dollars 4, and has 3 branches:
- ISNA-Canada main branch, located near 2200 South Sheridan Way in Mississauga (Ontario in Canada).
- A branch in the Toronto-Jama Masjid.
- A branch in Yellowknife (city in the north western territory governorate of Canada).
ISNA, together with the Islamic fund of North America (NAIT), controls 331 mosques in total in the US according to a 2011 statistic. 5
At the beginning of 2018, the organization was headed by the academic and professor of political science at the University of Toronto “Catherine Pollock”, who converted to Islam 25 years ago. Pollock was the first woman to lead the Muslim Brotherhood Organization in Canada. 6 The board of directors at that time included Khajida Saidi and Burhana Bello. It seems that the promotion of women and youth as being part of the front of the organization was related to the whitewashing of the image of “ISNA”, especially after the financial transfer scandal that was unveiled in 2013. During the investigations it became public, that the ISNA transfered 280 thousand in donations to Hizbul Mujahideen, an armed group associated with the “Islamic group” in Pakistan.
Another transaction had been detected in September 2018 by the Canadian national income authority, when the ISNA used “community resources” to support the political efforts of the Islamic group and/or its armed wing Hizbul Mujahideen. 7 The Canadian authorities decided to freeze the activity of ISNA – Canada for a year and fined it with 550 thousand dollars.
The association’s branch in Canada is currently headed by the Islamic activist “Shihab Kaab”, and the executive director is Fawzan Khan. One of the well-known figures in the organization is “Taha Ghayyour”, the former executive director, and the director of the organization “Justice for All”. ISNA provides several services for its community and runs sub companies, who are produce halal meat certificates, hosting weddings and organizing funerals, and support and assist to Syrian refugees.
The association has always denied its association with the Muslim Brotherhood or the “Islamic group”, but it often hosts leaders and figures from the group at its conferences and events, especially the Canadian brotherhood leader, who is a member of the board of Trustees of the World Union of Muslim scholars, Dr. Jamal Badawi. The association also invited to its thirty-fourth annual conference in May 2008, the Emir of the Islamic group “Qazi Hussein Ahmed”.
National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM): 8
The National Council of Canadian Muslims is an Islamic organization founded in July 2000 by Canadian Muslim preachers in Ottawa such as Jamal Badawi, Sheema Khan and Fasil Kuti. It was formerly known as the Canadian Council for American-Islamic Relations.
The council is politically active and communicates on its website that it is an independent, a non-partisan organization that “protects Canadian Human Rights and civil liberties, challenges discrimination and Islamophobia, builds mutual understanding, and defends the public interests of Canadian Muslims”.
In reality many consider the council to be the purely political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in Canada. The organization denies links to the Brotherhood, saying it was “founded in Ottawa by the prominent Canadian Muslims led by the Globe and Mail columnist Dr. Shima Khan.” 9
The Association of the council with the Muslim Brotherhood organization can be proofen by an internal memorandum of the organization issued in 1991, 10 where the name of the organization was included in a list of a number of organizations loyal to the Brotherhood. Jamal Badawi, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood infrastructure in North America, was also mentioned in that internal memorandum, appearing in a telephone directory of the Brotherhoods leadership in 1992. 11 Jamal Badawi’s led this organization at least from 2001 to 2013. 12
Today, the board of directors includes Canadian Muslims of various origins, including:
- Mustafa Farouk: the executive chairman of the council, holds a doctorate in law from the University of Alberta and a master’s degree in law, and previously held several government positions.
- Nadia Hassan: director of operations of the council. She holds a PhD in political science from the University of York.
- Kashif Ahmed: chairman of the board of directors. He is a Vancouver-based lawyer practicing corporate and commercial law. He received a bachelor of laws from the University of Saskatchewan and a Business Administration degree in finance from the University of Regina.
- Khaled al-Jazzar: deputy director. An Ottawa-based lawyer who practices in the areas of civil and commercial litigation and Human Rights Law.
Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR): 13
It is one of the most prominent institutions that emerged from the mantle of the International Organization of the Brotherhood 14, and through decades of advocacy and community work has been able to infiltrate the US and Canada.
The organization was founded in 1994 by three young American Muslims, Nihad Awad and Omar Ahmed, both of Palestinian origin, and Ibrahim Hooper, a Canadian citizen, who converted to Islam. The council has 32 branches and regional offices in the US, and the leader of the International Organization, Nihad Awad, is the executive director of “CAIR” 15.
The American CAIR Organization helped and supported the organization CAIR-CAN in Canada at their beginning, which since 2000 has turned into the National Council of Muslims of Canada.
 Governance Issues in American Mosques
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