Islamic Relief Canada welcomes the out-of-court settlement of a defamation case challenging false allegations made about the organization. The settlement includes an acknowledgment that the defamatory statements are unfounded, and the source material has been removed from websites and social media platforms.
Islamic Relief Canada filed a lawsuit in 2018 against multiple defendants – Thomas Quiggin, Tahir Aslam Gora, Raheel Raza, Syed Sohail Raza, Benjamin Dichter, Joseph Hazleton and TAG TV. The defendants were responsible for the publication and dissemination of a report entitled ‘The Government of Canada is Funding Terrorism with Taxpayers’ Money’, which was shared on a variety of websites and social media platforms and sent to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) to call for an investigation.
The primary reason for Islamic Relief Canada’s legal action was to take a stand to try to achieve a full retraction of the damaging statements made about the organization. The case was due to be tried in Superior Court in Toronto in May 2023 but has now been settled out of court. The complaint to the RCMP has been retracted, and the report has been removed from all platforms where the defendants had shared it. “This case illustrates the kind of misinformation that legitimate aid organizations too often face in carrying out their vital humanitarian missions,” says Usama Khan, Islamic Relief Canada’s CEO. “The defendants’ allegations against Islamic Relief are and always have been false. This case is also an important milestone in the wider fight against misinformation.”
The defendants have acknowledged in a signed statement that they “did not exercise sufficient due diligence” in researching, drafting and publishing what they said about Islamic Relief Canada. They have also acknowledged: “The statements made in the Defamatory Statements are unfounded. It was not the intention of the defendants to state or infer that the meanings of the Defamatory Statements should be interpreted to suggest that Islamic Relief Canada…supports terrorist groups, has an Islamist agenda or is a ‘front’ or ‘sham’ organization.”
The outcome of this defamation case reflects what Islamic Relief Canada has always maintained: that it is a respected, purely humanitarian Canadian organization that supports vulnerable people around the world without discrimination. It has a track record of delivering aid in some of the most difficult and dangerous contexts across the world, and it will continue to do so for the thousands of Canadian donors who have entrusted it with this responsibility.
Unfortunately, misinformation aimed at discrediting and defaming Muslim organizations is not uncommon in Canada and around the world. In recent years, there has been an increase in the spread of false and harmful information about Muslims and Muslim organizations, often motivated by bias and/or Islamophobia. This misinformation not only harms the reputation of groups serving humanity but also perpetuates harmful stereotypes and contributes to the marginalization of the Muslim community.
“As Canadians, we all have a responsibility to stand up against hate and intolerance, and the settlement reached by Islamic Relief Canada is a milestone in this fight,” says Usama Khan. “By holding those who spread misinformation accountable for their actions, we can send a clear message that this type of behavior will not be tolerated. It is essential that we continue to work towards an inclusive and tolerant society.”