World Vision, an international Christian humanitarian organization, released a statement this week responding to a recent report that they helped the Obama administration fund an al-Qaeda terrorist group in 2004, The Christian Post reported.
According to a story published by National Review earlier this week, in 2014 the Obama administration approved a grant of $200,000 that was given to the Sudan-based Islamic Relief Agency through World Vision Inc. As of 2004, the Islamic Relief Agency has been listed as a terrorist affiliate.
According to National Review, the Middle East Forum first revealed that the Obama administration had allocated $200,000 of taxpayer money to a terrorist affiliate group in Sudan, which was funneled through World Vision. Even after the Obama administration realized that the group was listed as a terror organization, World Vision allegedly still donated $115,000 of the $200,000 to the group.
From National Review:
“Despite this well-documented history, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in July 2014 awarded $723,405 to World Vision Inc., an international evangelical charity, to ‘improve water, sanitation and hygiene and to increase food security in Sudan’s Blue Nile state.’ Of these funds, $200,000 was to be directed to a sub-grantee: ISRA.”
“Obama-administration officials knowingly approved the transfer of taxpayer dollars to an al-Qaeda affiliate, and not an obscure one but an enormous international network that was often in the headlines,” writes Sam Westrop.
On Wednesday World Vision released a statement, which claimed that they were completely unaware that the money they were granted by the government was going to a terrorist organization.
“There are several Islamic Relief organizations operating around the world which are not blocked, and when we searched the blocked parties lists for ‘Islamic Relief’ in ‘Sudan,’ the searches produced no results,” the London-based organization stated.
“In May 2014, when World Vision applied to renew our registration with [Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control] as a charity working in Sudan, we identified IRA as a sub-grantee in our application. OFAC approved the renewal in August 2014 without any comments or questions about IRA,” they added.
Both World Vision and a USAID official stated that when World Vision started to have concerns in November 2014, regarding ISRA, they ended the program immediately.
Yet, two months later, in January 2015, World Vision contacted USAID to request funds for the organization’s completed work, stating that they “had performed excellent work.” World Vision added that delaying the payment was “putting a significant strain” on their relationship with the Sudanese government.
There were also people within the government that tried to expel World Vision from the country, which could have been due to the lack of payment, Westrop speculates in his piece.
Despite knowing who the terrorist-affiliated group was and what they were doing, Mark Smith, World Vision’s senior director of humanitarian and emergency affairs, stated that World Vision had the “intention to restart work with [ISRA] and to transact with [ISRA]” if OFAC did not respond within a week, when they requested to restart the relationship.
“If they actually said that they wanted to resume work with ISRA, while knowing that it was 99% likely that ISRA was on the list then I am concerned about our partnership with them, and whether it should continue,” Daniel Holmberg, a USAID official, said in an email to a colleague.
On January, OFAC denied World visions request to “a license to engage in transactions with [ISRA],” due to the ISRA being a sanctioned entity.
National Review reported that Mark Smith, along with World Vision’s Sudanese program directors, were angry about the decision, and wrote to OFAC and an Obama-administration official, Jeremy Konyndyk to gain approval to apply for a new license in order to pay the ISRA “monies owed for work performed.”
In May 2015, the Obama administration willingly and knowingly authorized the funds to the listed terrorist organization.
“Obama-administration officials knowingly approved the transfer of taxpayer dollars to an al-Qaeda affiliate, and not an obscure one but an enormous international network that was often in the headlines,” Westrop writes.
As of now, World Vision is maintaining their innocence:
“World Vision has robust controls and screening processes in place and condemns any diversion of aid funding and strongly condemn any act of terrorism or support for those activities. We have no evidence that any of our funds have been used for anything other than urgent humanitarian work.”
(H/T: The Christian Post)