Muslim Organization Files Libel Suit Against Canadian Prime Minister’s Office for Stating It Is Linked with Hamas

This past Monday, the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM, formerly CAIR-CAN) filed a libel lawsuit against Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his spokesman based on a statement linking the group to Hamas, a banned terrorist group in Canada. 

The NCCM asked the prime minister’s office in January to bar a rabbi from Harper’s first official trip to Israel because the rabbi, in September 2013, had introduced two anti-Islamist activists at a public meeting in Toronto. In a typical lawfare smear campaign, the NCCM labeled the activists as part of a “hate group” for their outspoken opposition to militant and political Islam.

In response to the NCCM’s demand to exclude the rabbi, Harper spokesman Jason MacDonald told a Canadian media outlet: “We will not take seriously criticism from an organization with documented ties to a terrorist organization such as Hamas.”

The NCCM served the prime minister’s office with a Notice of Libel prior to filing suit, demanding a retraction and apology and claiming that “[t]he defamatory words were stated maliciously in order to discredit and insult an organization that did nothing other than exercise its constitutional right to freedom of expression to criticize a decision made by the Prime Minister.”

That is, the NCCM has asserted that its own free expression rights justify its use of lawfare to stifle the free expression of its opponents.

The NCCM was previously known as CAIR-CAN (Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations, also written as “CAIR.CAN”), but changed its name in July 2013, likely in attempt to confuse the public as to its ties with the U.S.-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). Though the NCCM has claimed that “[t]here was never any operating or funding relationship between CAIR.CAN and CAIR,” the Canadian website Point De Bascule details the operating relationship between CAIR-CAN and CAIR, also noting that two CAIR-CAN leaders “openly endorsed Hamas after it was listed as a terrorist organization” in 2002.

The website lists numerous examples of the ties between CAIR-CAN and the U.S.-based CAIR:

December 29, 2000 – A CAIR-CAN press release issued in Washington provides the name of a US-based CAIR leader as contact to comment about a fire at a mosque in Canada. In this press release, CAIR-CAN is referred to as CAIR’s «office in Canada.»

August 31, 2001 – A US-based CAIR leader’s name is added as contact in a CAIR-CAN press release criticizing the Canada-based National Post. In this press release, CAIR-CAN is referred to as «the Canadian office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.»

October 10, 2002 – Washington-based CAIR files a trade-mark application for an exclusive use of its acronym CAIR in Canada. In the Canadian government’s database, the address of the applicant CAIR is the following:

453 New Jersey Avenue, South East

Washington, D.C. 20003

United States of America

2003 – In a Journalist’s Guide to Islam conceived by CAIR-CAN (p. 15), Washington-based CAIR is described as “CAIR-CAN’s parent organization” (p. 14).

. . . .

March 10, 2005 – A Canadian government agency confirms that, in Canada, the trade-mark on the acronym CAIR belongs to Washington-based CAIR.

A recent report from the Terrorism and Security Experts of Canada Network, which extensively details the interrelations of these groups, lists CAIR-CAN/NCCM as an “adherent organization” of the Muslim Brotherhood, which created Hamas.

As The Lawfare Project has reported, CAIR (U.S.) is an unindicted co-conspirator in a successfully prosecuted Hamas funding trial (during which FBI Special Agent Lara Burns labeled CAIR a front group for Hamas), as well as a litigious lawfare proponent that has repeatedly threatened and filed malicious lawsuits to silence public discussion on militant Islamist terrorism and CAIR’s own connections thereto. In 2003, for instance, CAIR filed a  defamation suit against former Congressman Cass Ballenger for his characterization of CAIR as a “fund-raising arm for Hezbollah.” U.S. District Judge Richard Leon dismissed the case, holding that Ballenger’s conduct was “within the scope of his employment” as a federal employee. Three other defamation suits filed by CAIR and CAIR-CAN/NCCM in the mid-2000s — which concerned statements exposing the relationship between the two entities and ties with Hamas — were also dropped or dismissed.

Canadian lawyer and national-security commentator David B. Harris was among those who successfully fought off a CAIR-CAN (now NCCM) libel-lawfare suit during the 2003-2006 North America-wide CAIR/CAIR-CAN “silencing” offensive. Apparently aimed at quietening discussion about the Islamist enterprise and its allies, the Harris suit was launched by CAIR-CAN and its founding Chair, Dr. Sheema Khan, the latter having reportedly sat on the U.S. CAIR’s board. Until the suit was shut down in 2006, it remained a threat to constitutionally protected speech in Canada.

“Now that NCCM/CAIR-CAN is taking Canadian officials to court,” says Harris, “Canadian defenders of the responsible exercise of constitutional free expression under Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms hope that their government will continue vigorously to contest the NCCM/CAIR-CAN lawsuit. People of good faith believe that a needed reckoning is coming and that this could expose the history, links, personalities, financing, and agenda of the Islamist group. This process should comprehend the Canadian entity’s profound connections to its American parent organization — the Saudi-funded unindicted co-conspirator group, CAIR — and the Muslim Brotherhood-oriented entity, the Muslim Association of Canada, among others.”

“Court evidence might also suggest the extent to which certain Canadian NGOs and public authorities failed in their due diligence obligations, and made connections with NCCM/CAIR-CAN — to the disadvantage of Canadians’ free speech, security and other human rights.”

Now, in the same vein, the NCCM is using lawfare tactics to stifle discourse at the highest level of government on issues of national security. The Lawfare Project commends the Prime Minister’s Office for publicly addressing this critical issue, rather than capitulating to the NCCM’s lawfare attack. Further, The Lawfare Project calls for the Canadian government to investigate and dismantle subversive Islamist organizations operating as fronts for the Muslim Brotherhood, the latter of which should be designated as a terrorist group.

The Lawfare Project