The Muslim Association of Canada has launched a court challenge against Canada Revenue Agency, which has called MAC's charity status into question.

The Muslim registered charity fears that the tax agency's audit will produce a
The Muslim registered charity fears that the tax agency's audit will produce a "prejudiced" report. (AA)

Canada's largest Muslim charitable organisation has launched a court challenge that alleges the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) probe into its affairs is rife with "Islamophobia".

The Muslim Association of Canada (MAC) wants the CRA audit stopped because it is unfairly "tainted by systemic bias and Islamophobia," according to a statement by MAC made on Wednesday. The CRA is Canada's income tax department.

“The Audit would never have been approached in the way it has been had the organisation in question been Christian, Jewish or Hindu,” said Geoff Hall, lawyer at McCarthy Tetrault LLP, in the statement. 

“Facts which are innocuous, and that would be regarded as such for a faith-based organisation of a religion other than Islam, have been taken as a basis for suspicion of MAC and its activities.”

While the conclusion of the audit, which originated in 2015, has not been announced, the Muslim registered charity fears that a "prejudiced" report will be issued and "extreme sanctions" will be enacted that could result in MAC losing its charitable tax status.

Donors would not then be issued a tax receipt and contributions to the charity would be impaired.

"This audit is a textbook example of prejudice and discrimination," said Hall.

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Charter challenge

Among the findings the association said are egregious: "The CRA claims that MAC activities, such (as) Eid celebrations, are not religious but rather social."

The CRA also contends that the association's sports, social and recreational activities for youths "do not provide a charitable benefit."

MAC’s court application seeks an order stopping the audit and confirming that MAC’s rights have been infringed under sections 2(a) (freedom of religion), 2(b) (freedom of expression), 2(d) (freedom of association) and 15 (equality) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

"The Charter challenge will explore instances in which the CRA has attempted to apply to MAC standards that would, and could never justifiably, be applied to any other community of faith,” said Hall.

The association has chapters in 13 major cities across Canada.

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Source: AA