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Canadian court rejects Arab group’s challenge to cut in gov’t funding

TORONTO (JTA) — The government of Canada acted reasonably in cutting its funding to a Canadian-Arab group because it appeared to support terrorist acts, the country’s Federal Court ruled.

In a decision made public this week, the court dismissed a challenge by the Canadian Arab Federation to a decision made by former Immigration Minister Jason Kenney to end funding for a language instruction program in 2009-10, the Toronto Star reported. The federation said it would appeal.

The court in its Dec. 23 ruling noted that Kenney asked his chief of staff to “please ask the department to bring forward complete information on the contribution embarrassingly approved by our government for the radical and anti-Semitic Canadian Arab Federation.” Kenney said, according to the court, “From our point of view, these groups do not deserve and have no right to taxpayers’ dollars to promote their kind of extremism.”

In a letter quoted by the court, Kenney told Khaled Mouammar, the federation’s president at the time, that “serious concerns have arisen with respect to certain public statements that have been made by yourself or other officials of the CAF. These statements have included the promotion of hatred, anti-Semitism and support for the banned terrorist organizations Hamas and Hezbollah.”

The public statements, the letter added, raise “serious questions about the integrity of your organization and has undermined the government’s confidence in the CAF as an appropriate partner for the delivery of settlement services to newcomers.”

The court agreed, saying it was Kenney’s position that the language program offers newcomers not only training but also an orientation to the Canadian way of life including “social, economic, cultural and political integration.” It found that the statements could reasonably lead one to come to the same conclusions as did Kenney about the Canadian Arab Federation.

The Canadian Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs welcomed the court ruling.

“Given CAF’s clear record of glorifying terror groups and spewing hateful rhetoric, Minister Kenney was right to deny it public funding,” CIJA said in a statement. “It’s particularly disturbing to think that an organization that holds views so diametrically opposed to Canada’s values was given a mandate to integrate new Canadians.”

 

 

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