Donations Instead Of Gifts: 12 Charities To Help This Holiday

10 of 13

WASHINGTON, DC – FEBRUARY 12: Supporters of the Council on American-Islamic Relations hold a vigil in Dupont Circle February 12, 2015 in Washington, DC. The vigil was held to honor three young Muslim students, Deah Shaddy Barakat, Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salh, and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, who were recently shot to death in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

4. Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)

Cause: Muslim civil rights

Why Choose This Charity: To be brutally honest, the right of Muslim Americans are at a precipitous point in history right now. There’s been talk of government registries and internment camps, while non-Muslim citizens have been recorded inciting violence against Muslims. Though the future is unclear, now is an especially relevant time to help your Muslim neighbors and fellow citizens.

One organization with that particular goal is the Council on American-Islamic Relations. It was first formed in 1994, as an “organization that challenges stereotypes of Islam and Muslims”. CAIR was formed in part because of the backlash to the 1994 action-comedy film True Lies, in which the villains are Muslim terrorists. Naturally, it increased its advocacy work soon after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.

Their mission, as stated on the CAIR website is “to enhance understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.” Their current work includes government lobbying, media relations, grassroots action, research (including an annual civil rights report), and education. It focuses especially on dispelling rumors and myths about Islam and American Muslims. To that point, CAIR promotes interfaith work and outreach such as voter registration drives.

Links to Send Gift Givers: Their donation page here.