By Leo Hohmann
Mohammed El Halabi, an employee of World Vision, the world’s largest evangelical Christian charity, has been charged in Israel with funneling tens of millions of dollars to the military wing of Hamas, a designated international terrorist organization affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood.
The arrest was made June 16, according to the Israeli daily Haaretz, but a gag order on the case files was lifted Wednesday and Halabi was indicted Thursday. The indictment reveals details of how Hamas infiltrated Federal Way, Washington-based World Vision, a global Christian outreach active in nearly 100 countries.
Halabi, director of World Vision’s Gaza branch, was detained at the Erez crossing in Israel as he was headed back to Gaza on his way home from “routine meetings,” several Israeli news outlets were reporting.
Halabi was being held since June “without access to legal counsel or family visits,” which is normal procedure in Israel for prisoners charged with terrorist-related crimes.
Last Friday, when El Halabi’s detention had been extended until Aug. 2, World Vision’s eastern Jerusalem office released a statement calling for his release:
“World Vision stands by Mohammad who is a widely respected and well-regarded humanitarian, field manager and trusted colleague of over a decade. He has displayed compassionate leadership on behalf of the children and communities of Gaza through difficult and challenging times, and has always worked diligently and professionally in fulfilling his duties.”
But Halabi only used his “humanitarian” mask as cover for his Islamist work, according to the prosecution’s presentation Thursday in Beer Sheva District Court.
The prosecutor described him as a Hamas activist who has been using his high position in the charity to systematically divert millions of dollars to the military arm of Hamas, financing, among other things, the digging of terror tunnels, the Jewish Press reported.
The secret terrorist funding, according to Thursday’s indictment, was taken out of donations and resources that had been dedicated to humanitarian assistance for Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip. The indictment includes 12 counts of security violations of passing information to the enemy, membership in a terror organization, funding terrorism, participation in an unlawful association, and contact with foreign agents.
Hamas has controlled the Gaza Strip since Palestinian elections were held in 2006.
Hamas is the Palestinian wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist organization whose goal is to inspire Muslims worldwide to return to the roots of their faith as spelled out in the Quran and create a global caliphate under Shariah law.
The fact that the Brotherhood has infiltrated the world’s largest international Christian aid group, World Vision, confirms the worst fears of Brotherhood experts such as Dr. Mark Christian, a former imam with family ties to the Brotherhood who left his native Egypt in 2003.
“From the Brotherhood’s point of view there is nothing better than to deceive and get involved with organizations that make it look like they are going to help the poor kids of Gaza when in reality no kid is getting helped and it is all going to the terrorist actions to kill Jews,” said Christian, who heads up the Global Faith Institute based in Omaha, Nebraska.
Christian said World Vision started out in 1950 as a great organization focused on helping missionaries out in the field “and to really do the good work of Christ.”
But the organization started changing in the 1970s, he said.
“And I think that is a key dividing line in history,” Christian said. “That’s when you started seeing Christian leaders becoming more accepting of other religions, and the Muslim Brotherhood around that same time started to internationalize their mission of spreading Islamism around the world and they discovered they could deceive a lot of these naïve Christian leaders.”
World Vision today has an annual budget of more than $2 billion and its top executive, Richard Stearns, was paid a salary of $380,000 in 2013, among the top nonprofit salaries in the country that year.
“And you see the direction of the organization itself change from a Christian missionary organization to now more of a global anti-poverty agency that says ‘yeah we are doing this great work but we are not going to evangelize the world,’ and you see that reflected in their generic slogans that appeal to the donors but is not really doing the work of Christ and the Great Commission,” Christian said.
World Vision’s slogan is “Our vision for every child, life in all its fullness; our prayer for every heart, the will to make it so.”
CEO admits to not sharing gospel with the needy
In a 2007 interview with Guy Kawasaki, Stearns admitted that World Vision does not evangelize anyone.
“As a Christian organization, we are motivated by our commitment to Christ to love our neighbors and care for the less fortunate. That’s why we do what we do. We don’t proselytize,” Stearns said. “We do not force our religious beliefs on anyone, and we don’t discriminate in our delivery of aid in any way. If the people we serve want to know why we are there, we tell them.”
The top executives of World Vision are now more expert in raising funds and the business side of the outreach than the Christian side, Christian told WND. “He is very highly compensated and he brags about his relationship with Bill Gates and Bono.
“So, you see his one-world vision and working by good deeds but never saying anything about your faith, and working with the globalists like Bill Gates and others. So you have the transformation of a good organization into a one-world kind of mentality. And that transformation started taking place in the 1970s. The real rise of that new mentality took off in the 1990s during the Clinton era and afterward.”
World Vision agent a member of Hamas since 2004
The indictment states Halabi joined Hamas’ armed wing Izzedin al-Qassam in 2004 and was directed in 2005 to infiltrate a major humanitarian organization so as “to be close to decision makers in a foreign organization, to be involved in the group and operate secretly to advance al-Qassam’s interests.”
The Shin Bet accuses Halabi of joining World Vision and sending its funds to Hamas’ military wing, some of it to fund digging military-related tunnels and to purchase weapons, Haaretz reported.
The Israeli intelligence agency alleges that a sum of $80,000 contributed by British donors to assist needy families and support civilian projects in Gaza was used to build a Hamas position in the Gaza town of Beit Hanun, to pay Hamas activists’ salaries and bonuses to members who had fought against Israel in the 2014 war, according to the Haaretz article.
“This serves to demonstrate the need for an extra dose of vigilance and discernment on the part of Christian leadership in these prophetic times in which we are living,” said Carl Gallups, a Baptist pastor in Florida who is also an author and host of a weekly radio show.
“One of the known techniques of the Muslim Brotherhood organization is to ‘infiltrate’ outside institutions until those institutions are brought totally under their control, or are at least under controlled manipulation,” Gallups, author of “Final Warning” and “Be Thou Prepared: Equipping the Church for Persecution and Times of Trouble,” told WND.
Christian donors must be ‘watchful’
Christians should be constantly watchful for possible infiltration, and once a nefarious breach has been detected, they need to “come together en masse and immediately discontinue the funding of those organizations,” Gallups said. “They also need to thoroughly publicize the infiltration to the world, using every means at their disposal.”
“We have seen, and it has been extensively reported upon, the Muslim Brotherhood infiltration of our own U.S. government, various ‘public relations’ organizations, our public school systems, and even local government offices and agencies.”
Now the Christian world is given another clear example of this plotted and planned incursion, he said. But will they listen and watch?
“This, no doubt, is not the only such instance. I would imagine there are several other Christian institutions where the tentacles of radical Islam have gained their foothold,” Gallups said.
“America’s pastors, churches, and civic leaders had best get their collective heads out of the sand and wake up to the times in which we are now living. Without strong leadership in biblical and constitutional principles of truth and righteousness – and rule of law … we are doomed.”
Halabi’s attorney, Mohammed Mahmoud, told Haaretz on Thursday his client denies any links to Hamas.
Mahmoud said Halabi has told his investigators that the entire Gaza Strip is under absolute Hamas rule and armed members of the organization take whatever they want from the organization’s storage depots.
“Israel can link anyone living in the Gaza Strip to Hamas. Mohammed (Halabi) does not belong to the organization nor is he affiliated with Hamas,” Halabi’s lawyer told Haaretz.
Halabi’s actions were allegedly taken with the knowledge of other World Vision employees and sometimes with their involvement, the Shin Bet asserts, but were allegedly hidden from World Vision’s top officials.
Israeli intelligence officials contend that about 60 percent of the funds from World Vision’s Gaza operations were diverted to Hamas, according to Haaretz. Under Shin Bet interrogation, Halabi is said to have provided considerable information about the methods used to transfer the funds.
Halabi would allegedly invite a fictitious public bidding process in which the funds were sent directly to Hamas, Haaretz reported. The Islamic group’s members would purportedly be listed as farmers entitled to assistance and their children as disabled so that they would also qualify for assistance.
Some of charity’s own funds were said to have been transferred to Hamas to build military positions and finance tunnel digging, through the purchase of excavation equipment, iron, piping and building materials.
So, for example, Halabi is said to have initiated a project purportedly involving the construction of greenhouses when, in actuality, the Shin Bet claims the greenhouses were used to conceal tunnel excavation sites, Haaretz reports. And projects purportedly meant to assist Gaza fishermen would actually supply diving suits and motorboats to Hamas’ naval force.
In another instance, Shin Bet officials say World Vision trucks were sent from Israel through the Kerem Shalom crossing point and then on directly to Hamas warehouses rather than to World Vision storage facilities.
The cargo was said to have included food parcels designated for the needy, and personal hygiene kits.
Halabi was indicted on Thursday for a list of security offenses.
A call by WND to World Vision headquarters in the U.S. Thursday was not immediately returned.