Obama Administration Passed on Funds to Outfit Linked to Al-Qaeda - Senate Panel Finding

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A US Senate committee report has said the Barack Obama administration had funded an affiliate of the pan-Islamist outfit al-Qaeda. The sensational Senate report says the Obama administration did this knowingly.

The findings are part of a report on the controversial funding given by Obama administration to the Islamic Relief Agency (ISRA). The Senate Finance panel headed by Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) had probed the Obama administration's approval of a $200,000 grant to the al-Qaeda affiliate.

The money was funneled through non-profit agency World Vision United States in 2014. According to the National Review, the committee found that World Vision was not aware of the terrorist links of the Islamic Relief Agency. However, the panel said the administration had overlooked proper vetting practices before the money was awarded.

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"World Vision works to help people in need across the world, and that work is admirable ... 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," Grassley said.

Meanwhile, news agency IANS said it had reported last year that US government agencies have been funding the Islamic charities linked to terror outfits based in Pakistan and the Middle East. These transactions took place through InterAction, America's largest alliance of international non-profit organizations, the agency said.

Barrack Obama
President Obama's hair famously during the course of his Presidency Wikimedia Commons

One of the beneficiaries of these financial programs was Helping Hand for Relief & Development (HHRD), which works with the charitable and political wings of Lashkar-e-Taiba, the report said.

The Senate panel found that the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) gave $723,405 in grants to World Vision. The found was meant to help humanitarian works in conflict-torn Blue Nile region of Sudan. However, World Vision passed on the funds to the ISRA.

The report says that ISRA has been sanctioned by the US government since 2004 over ties to terrorism. However, World Vision said it was not aware about the sanctions.

This article was first published on January 5, 2021