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Should Christians Ally Themselves with Muslim Pro-Life Advocates at the U.N.?

When anti-abortion advocate Austin Ruse explained to his audience that because his sturdiest allies at the United Nations were Muslims countries, his international anti-abortion coalition could not also be an international religious freedom coalition, my dhimmitude-meter kicked on — dhimmitude in this case meaning appeasement of Islam (this is what I first wrote about it).

Ruse was describing a classic example of the divide-and-conquer reversals that ensue when the Free World seeks common ground with totalitarian Islam. In isolating the subset of commonality — in this case, opposition to abortion — the greater set of Western principles abjured by Islam must be bracketed away. The thinking is, concessions are, as a matter of course, required to form a coalition with Islam. Thus, bedrock Western principles of religious freedom, freedom of conscience, and freedom of speech, etc., must, in effect, be suspended if representatives of the umma (Islamic community), which outlaws such liberties under Islamic law (sharia), are to be lured into political alliance.

It’s never, ever the other-way round. That is, it’s never the Muslims who must hold their collectivist nose to overlook the freedoms they abhor for, in this case, the sake of helping to protect unborn life. It’s always the West that willingly loosens its attachment to its defining principles for fear of offending Islam. That’s the culture of dhimmitude. As a measure of the vital signs of these respective cultures, the West is clearly weaker.

This is highly alarming. So, too, is this political advance of proponents of Islamic law — which apparently protects the unborn, but also sentences to death those who leave or insult or criticize Islam as “apostates” — into respected religious and moral circles in the West. I say “apparently” because this is the conventional wisdom, but I can’t find any reference to abortion in the subject index of my trusty Islamic law book, Reliance of the Traveller; there are multiple entries on “apostasy” and “apostates.”

Ruse, responding here, and, now, in a second piece titled “Working with Muslims to protect the unborn,” has taken something of a rolling pin to my concerns, flattening them out thus:

Some will say it is not worth protecting the unborn child if we have to make common cause with the Muslim states. Recently, at Andrew Breitbart’s “Big Peace” website, respected columnist Diana West suggested that in working with the Muslims, pro-life Christian NGOs help spread Sharia and radical Islam. She believes that religious persecution is a more important issue than protecting unborn babies from their own holocaust.

Many individuals and groups would agree. They work on religious freedom and ignore the plight of the unborn. That is their right. Groups must choose their mission. But West and, I suspect, others go further. They actually want us to stop our work because the cost is too high if it includes Muslims.

I haven’t suggested, nor would I, that Ruse (or his Muslim partners) “stop [their] work” in the arena of international law, or that it is “not worth protecting the unborn child.” Nor have I attempted to construct a calculus to rank Islamic or other depredations against humanity. This really wasn’t the area I was trying to mine in my initial post. Nor did I accuse pro-life Christian NGOs of helping spread sharia law, because such a charge overlooks what they are actually doing: I believe they are elevating proponents of sharia to heights of unmerited respectability, which is a little different. In providing entree to proponents of sharia law, they have the effect of softening natural Western reflexes against it.

Making “common cause” with Muslim states to vote down pro-abortion law at the UN becomes dangerous if and when it means constructing a Trojan Horse by which proponents of sharia make their stealthy advance into regions of respectability in the West that would otherwise be closed to them as sworn enemies of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This is what happens when the inevitable etiquette of political alliance suppresses pointed discussion of sharia’s anti-Western precepts. For example, in his recent essay, Ruse attributes the sharia-dictated persecution of non-Muslims to “governments that allow the persecution of our co-religionists” (emphasis added). Such generic imprecision has the effect of letting the specific laws of Islam that dictate the persecution of non-Muslims off the hook. I am afraid this is one result of making “common cause.” Meanwhile, if Islamic law prohibits abortion, nothing is going to stop Islamic representatives from working to prohibit abortion, regardless of how Christian pro-lifers interact with them.

Ruse opens by lionizing an Islamic diplomat for his relentless, table-pounding declamations against a “universal right to abortion” at the UN. Incidentally or not, I, too, oppose such a “universal right,” only not out of compliance with sharia. I must say, Ruse’s description of the diplomat’s performance reminds me of a host of performances by other Islamic UN representatives whom I’ve watched in action on video as they promote and defend sharia — the laws that outlaw speech and conscience and women’s and children’s rights, health and safety, and even any discussion of sharia.

Here is a short video; here is a longer video. Please watch one or, preferably, both before you decide how “common” our “cause” with Islam really is, or should be — or, for that matter, how common our cause with the United Nations itself should be (I think we should remove ourselves from it, and it from New York City).

While I certainly appreciate Ruse’s despair over post-Christian Europe’s institutional enshrinement of abortion rights — in my baileywick I despair over Europe’s simultaneous enshrinement of speech codes and other restrictions on conscience and political liberty — “common cause” here tends to mean more than just voting in accord on a particular issue; all too easily it lends the cloak of respectability to a totalitarian creed.

Short-term, can this possibly do more good than harm? Not if it closes our eyes to the fact that down this same road lies submission.

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