A report released by the Senate Finance Committee' Republican Chairman, Chuck Grassley, has revealed that the Office of Foreign Assets Control, an office of the Treasury Department, granted a license to a non-profit which allowed them to transfer money to a group which has been sanctioned by the US government for funding terrorism, Daily Wire reports.
The report investigated World Vision, a non-profit Evangelical Christian humanitarian organization, for their connections to the Islamic Relief Agency (ISRA).
The ISRA was sanctioned by the US government in 2004 after they were caught providing $5 million to Maktab Al-Khidamat, Osama Bin Laden's to al-Qaeda, and even working with Bin Laden directly. The organization was also caught funding Palestinian terrorism against Israelis.
"World Vision works to help people in need across the world, and that work is admirable," Grassley said. "Though it may not have known that ISRA was on the sanctions list or that it was listed because of its affiliation with terrorism, it should have. Ignorance can’t suffice as an excuse. World Vision’s changes in vetting practices are a good first step, and I look forward to its continued progress."
"World Vision only discovered the sanctions issue when another non-profit aid group declined to work with them after doing their own due diligence and finding the affiliation between World Vision and the sanctioned ISRA," it says on Grassley's website.
World Vision has argued, however, that they are not responsible for the funds being channeled to ISRA, placing blame on the US government. They said that despite being in contact with US government officials during the approval process, World Vision was never notified of the group's connections to terrorism. They also claimed that the search tools provided by the US government made it difficult to determine whether ISRA was sanctioned or not.
World Vision cut off relations with the ISRA in 2014 after being notified of the organization's sanctions. The Treasury Department confirmed such sanctions in early 2015 and blocked further transactions to the group. However, World Vision requested that the Treasury Department to allow them to transfer a further $125,000 to the ISRA fearing they would be expelled from Sudan if they failed to do so, a request which the Obama State Department pressured the Treasury Department to grant. World Vision was ultimately allowed to transfer the additional funds.
It is not the first time that World Vision has been connected to terrorism. In 2016, World Vision Gaza manager Mohammad El Halabi was arrested by Israeli authorities for funneling money to Hamas, a group which promoted genocide against Jewish people in their covenant at the time.
The Shin Bet, Israel's domestic intelligence agency, claimed that the group funneled $48 million to the terrorist organization to construct terror tunnels and to pay Hamas combatants who fought in the 2014 war with Israel.
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