Should I donate to “Gift of the Givers”

This was originally posted on 6 August 2006

The situation on the Lebanese-Israeli border over the past fortnight is horrific. It is not my intention to discuss the various merits of each side’s (by this I refer to Israel and Hizbullah) claims, although I believe both sides have a point and both have over reacted and need to be held to account for their actions.

The point of this post, however, is to ask for your input on a question this conflict has raised for me.

There is an organisation in South Africa called ‘The Gift of the Givers’. They collect essential supplies and provide services and medicines to people impacted by natural disasters and warfare. They have an impeccable reputation and are wonderfully transparent, highly accountable in their reporting and super media savvy. And they collect literally millions and millions of rands of supplies, and get it to disaster zones faster than anyone else seems able to.

And they are Muslim. Well, at least the founder is Muslim, and very vocal about his faith guiding his work. Dr Imtiaz Sooliman is one of the greatest people I have ever met, and is remarkable in his vision, his passion and his ability to get things done.

As I have considered how to contribute to some relief for those caught up in the current crisis in the Middle East, it struck me that the most appropriate and effective use of my donation would be to give it via The Gift of the Givers.

But should I? This is a question many Christians will ask themselves. They seem to have no proseletising motive – yet, I know how “devious” some Christian agencies are in this regard. As a Muslim organisation, there is no doubt an attempt to do what they do, “in the name of Allah”, even though this is never stated. Should this make a difference to whether we donate to them or not?

A further question is why are there no Christian agencies doing work in the Middle East right now? Oh, I am sure that there ARE some, but where is their profile? Or, to put it another way, where is the voice, and hands and feet of Jesus in this mess?

Should I scrounge around some more to find the Christian witness, or should I see the most obvious and visible and active channel as a means to touch the people in Lebanon. Does it matter that I do it in the name of Jesus, but do it through an organisation that does not? (If so, where does that leave all the non-aligned NGO’s, like Red Cross and UN?).

I’d appreciate your comments. My choice is to donate to Gift of the Givers, and support the superb humanitarian work they’re doing.

19 thoughts on “Should I donate to “Gift of the Givers””

  1. Linda Martindale commented on the original site:

    I personally have no objection to donating to an organisation that is not Christian, if I have a concern about a particular issue that no Christian organisation that I am aware of is involved in. In my mind, it is not an issue whether they are Atheist or Muslim or … if my concern is that people in the Middle East need practical help … and Gift of the Givers are doing that without the sole purpose of converting people, I would have no problem. I would see it as similar to before Christians were really involved in the environment .. I would still have put money where my mouth was, if the environment was of deep concern to me, and supported a ‘green’ organisation even if it were New Age, IF it were achieving objectives that I was committed to. But now that I know of good Christian environmental organisations … I would direct my funds there. What is the objective of my giving? Is it being met by the people I am channeling money to? These are the questions I would ask myself.

  2. Hameed commented on the original site:

    I am from Sri Lanka and I had the good fortune of coordinating the post- Tsunami Relief work in Sri Lanka for the Gift of the Givers Foundation – South Africa.

    The Foundation funded the buiding of 50 Houses for the Tsunami victims in Sri Lanka.

    Gift of the Givers Foundation was one of the very first NGO’s to respond and they were in Sri Lanka in less than 24 hours of the disaster with emergency relief.

    This is not the first time they have been the first. The foundation count many firsts in many countries.

    It might be useful to the donors to know that we operated in Sri Lanka with minimum administartive costs and there were no expatriates stationed here.

    It might also be useful to note that their aim is to provide Humanitarian Aid regardless of race or religion.

    A good many people have become paranoid with the word muslim. One must note that there are a very few Muslim Humanitarian organisations – and Gift of the Givers is one of those few.

  3. Graeme,
    One of the pitfalls of the Church is that we tend to believe (if not in word, then certainly in deed) that God only works through Christians (or through the Church or through the people of God). Yet God is constantly up to new things, and works through all sorts of people and agencies. A primary difference for us as Christians, is that as we are engaged in doing God’s work in the world, we know that we are part of something bigger. We know (or at least we should know) that we’re doing something that is part of what God is up to in the world.
    Although I know nothing about Gift of the Givers (other than what you have written), it seems to me that this is God at work. And we who are Christians should get on board with what God is doing.
    One of the ways I challenge the people in my congregation is asking the question: Where do you see God at work? What is going on in our community/state/nation/world that is breaking God’s heart? What is going on in our community/state/nation/world that makes God smile? Where can you jump on board with what God is already doing so that God’s work and will may be accomplished?
    A few random thoughts Graeme. Thanks for your words.

  4. This is, as they say, a bit of a no brainer. If Christian’s pray in their churches (which I sincerely hope they do) for those of any and every faith in the Middle East the next step is to support the work of relief and humanitarian aid. Giving through reputable organizations that have the sole interest of providing immediately to those in need has a Biblical precedent here. Didn’t Jesus say something like, If you wish someone well and do nothing about it then what use is that (my paraphrase)! Christians in the U.K give through an organization called the D.E.C which is a conglomeration of aid agencies, Christian and secular. The purpose of this co-operative stance is to get the aid quickest to the places that most need it. I agree fully with the random thoughts of Steve Mayer. The Christendom mentality that occupies many of the EPC churches in particular demands that God be limited to their notion of ‘kingdom’. When I read my Bible I see a God who is boundless in compassion, mercy, and love not only to those who profess Christian faith but to all people in creation. It would be wrong to support an organization that is overtly Islamic and engaged in the mission of Islam if you are non-Muslim. If a relief organization takes both the good will offering of Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, or who ever and uses them for good without the intent of promoting any religious agenda then God bless their work of compassion, mercy, and love. Peace Graeme :<.

  5. Although we know that God can and do work through non-Christians. I don’t think Christians should give to Muslim charity, especially Gift of the Givers. Rather give to a Christian orginazation or Red Cross if need be. Muslim orginazations use the money not only for relief (like Red Cross) but also to further their religion. By funding them, Christians is contributing to the spread of Islam (which hates Jews and Christians).
    Why does Gift of the givers gets so much publicity and Christian charity not?

  6. No….do NOT give any money to Gift Of The Givers. The reason why their are so very few islamic charity organizations is because islam as a religion isnt in the habbit of doing charity. Whenever i see a supposed islamic organization doing charity i get suspiscious about their intentions. In my opinion there is only one reason why muslims would perform a charitable act, and that is to get out there in people’s faces where they can “show how good they are” with the intention of spreading islam further. In my honest opinion it would be un-Christianly to donate to Gift of the Givers, because Gift of the Givers is most certainly not going to tell the person whom they eventually give to what you gave them that it came from a Christian. They will be there blowing the islamic whistle and they will be there to spread islam. If you want to do charity as a Christian go to your Christian church and donate money to the organization which your local pastor suggests. Or just go physically help those begging at the traffic lights down the road from where you live. If you as a Christian donate money to Gift of the Givers you WILL be advancing islam … and that’s the truth of the matter.

  7. SHREK … I agree 110% with your comment…. no really, I do. You have more wisdom than most others have. May GOD bless you and may HE open the eyes of the blind.

  8. NEVER give to Gift of the Givers. Several workers /missionaries that work with Muslims vow that the money goes for the sole purpose of furthering Islam and their ideology and their funds/assistance are only meant to help Muslims!!
    This is no humanitarian aid, but aid exclusively for Muslims!!!!

  9. I do agree that we should support Christian charities and there are a number of Christian relief agencies namely Medair, Tearfund, Samaritans purse and South Africa’s very own Relief Life. Relief Life is currently partnering with Medair in providing help to the displaced people in Norther Iraq and they are desperately looking for donations and support. Let’s stand together as Christians in this and allow God to get the glory through our good works.

  10. Why does religion has to play any role if you are doing good?
    “Morality is doing what is right,regardless of what you are told. Religion is doing what you are told,regardless of what is right.”
    Let’s just embrace our differences and do good!!!

  11. Shrek… So do not give to a Muslim charity but in time of disaster you will accept from a Muslim charity??

  12. Islam people do not hate christians? I am a Christian with islam friends who have treated me with so much love. It is like saying christians hate atheists. It is not true and just because a small portion of people act likey they do it makes all of us fall under that light

  13. There are many Christian charity organisations who are doing excellent work to donate to. I agree also that if unsure speak to your pastor or Christian leader as to where the need is and support. The Bible and Jesus tells us to love everyone and this we can do – it also tells us we are not fighting against flesh and blood but rather spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. I would never donate to an organization that is run by Muslims for the very reason shared above. God bless all and challenge us to do our part in meeting the needs in our communities and in the world.

  14. To the man who does all he can to further the Gospel of Christ, may he cast the first stone, if not, do not condemn the Samaritan help the man who was robbed and left for dead whilst priests and the like passed by on the other side and turned their heads away. Woe on Unrepentant Towns

    20Then Jesus began to denounce the towns in which most of his miracles had been performed, because they did not repent. 21“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you. 23And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted to the heavens? No, you will go down to Hades. e For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day. 24But I tell you that it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.”

  15. Hello! I am a Muslim and came on this article while researching the Gift of the Givers organisation to see if it is legitimate.

    Surprisingly, I noticed several comments accusing Islam of hating other religions. Or thinking that in Islam, charitable giving is not customary.

    In the Qur’an, there is a verse that clearly states that we are not advised to force anyone to embrace Islam.

    Allah states in Surah al-Kafirun, “For You is Your Religion; For Me is My Religion.”

    So, there is no reason for Muslims to despise other religions. People are different in so many ways, and we should celebrate this because it is a gift from God.

    I understand that certain Muslims (and the media) may misrepresent Islam, resulting in widespread misconceptions about Islam. The authentic Islamic teaching never encourage us to despise anyone. Allah is the most merciful and compassionate. So, it just doesn’t make sense if Allah advise us to hate or hurt each other. God wants us to live side by side in peace, embracing and cherishing the diversity.

    Furthermore, Islamic teachings strongly encourage charitable acts. There are countless scriptures that I can quote about charity.

    These are some of them:

    “You will never attain righteousness until you spend in charity from that what you love.”

    “Those who give, out of their own possessions, by night and by day, in private and in public will have their reward with their Lord.”

    “For those who give in charity, men and women, and loan to Allah a beautiful loan, it shall be increased manifold (to their credit), and they shall have (besides) a liberal reward.”

    One of the things I love about Islamic teaching is that when you give charity, you must do so solely for the sake of Allah, and you only hope for His reward.

    Any charity or generosity done for ulterior intentions, particularly to create a positive image or to demonstrate good deeds for your own benefit, would be rejected by Allah. Allah will not reward such charity.

    So, in Islam, in addition to developing your relationship with Your God, you must maintain positive relationships with others, whether they are Muslims or non-Muslims.

    You are not strictly permitted to harm any individuals, regardless of their beliefs, or other beings such as animals and plants, because all creatures are God’s creation.

    I have numerous Christian and other non-Muslim friends. And we treat each other with great respect and kindness.

    I believe that God will always reward good deeds with good intentions. Anything that does not resonate with that does not align with true Islamic principles.

    The Islamic teachings are great. However, Islamic people are not perfect; they occasionally engage in behaviour that contradicts Islamic values. So, I totally understand if there are common misperceptions about Islam.

  16. Thank you so much for taking the time to provide us with this information and context. I really appreciate it.

  17. It’s 2024 and I was strongly considering GOTG as the vehicle through which to donate towards the Tongaat tragedy, because of their impeccable reputation. & also because I’m neither seeing nor hearing anything from Christian organisations. That said, I think it is my duty as a Christian to try harder to purposefully seek out Christian aid agencies, to enable me do the dual job of contributing aid & advancing the kingdom. I don’t have anything against Muslims, in fact I know some who are the kindest people I’ve ever encountered. However my number 1 duty/ instruction is to go & make disciples. Thank you for putting up this post because isn’t it funny that at some point we think the exact thoughts. So thank God for the internet. & thank God for Dr Suleiman of GOTG. Even though he’s not a Christian, he is however doing the Lords work & to God be all glory. He will work everything for our good as all His people in a way known only to Him ??

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