The Catholic Thing
Working with the Muslims Print E-mail
By Austin Ruse   
Friday, 13 January 2012

The 10 p.m. negotiating session was set to go all night long. This was the last night of a two-week process that had been in planning for years before. All the hard things would be decided in the dead of that final night, when everyone was exhausted, the cafeteria was closed, and the translators had all gone home.

I walked out onto the floor of the immense negotiating room in the basement of the United Nations. Concentric half rings of desks cascaded from the front to the back with one hundred and eighty-something national “flags” arranged alphabetically, and floor-to-ceiling windows 100 feet high overlooking the moonlit East River.

On the negotiating floor, I approached a Muslim ambassador and said, “This session is going all night long and its going to be very tough going. And when it gets really hard, I want you to know that right over there,” and I pointed to a section of raised seats off to the side, “twenty Christians will be praying for you.”

That night this man was a tiger in defense of unborn children. The gathered western governments, along with U. N. bureaucrats, hungered for a right to abortion that would require nations to allow for the unrestricted killing of their unborn babies.

He rose time and time again to stop dangerous language from entering into that document. He pounded on his desk. At one point, he even rose in defense of our Christian NGOs who had come under attack from the European Union. As the sun rose, his efforts, our efforts, paid off. An alleged right to abortion was stopped once more.

Many will applaud the result of this meeting and others like it, and those same people will cringe that we accomplish this task with governments that allow the persecution of our co-religionists. It would be good if the coalition of those who support unborn children at the U. N. were broad and vast and deep. It is not.

If only the so-called Christian nations stood with us. It is post-Christian Europe that leads the fight to make abortion the law of the world. Even such solid countries as Poland and Malta go along with Germany, France, and the United Kingdom after the EU takes a common position, which is almost always in favor of the culture of death. 

What about Catholic Latin America? There are a number of reasons they are not with us. Their elites long ago sidled up to Europe on the question of abortion. They view abortion practically as a sacrament and also a badge of sophistication. Their governments also do not want to be hectored by U.N. “human rights” committees who push for a universal right to abortion.

They also tend to throw a bone to their domestic radical feminists and allow them to represent their countries at U.N. negotiations. These governments also do not want to be labeled as part of what the prestige media calls the “unholy alliance” of the Vatican and the Muslim states. So, Catholic Latin America largely takes a powder on these issues.

Africa? They are so poor they cannot give up even a single dime proffered by the U.N. and the donor nations. Is financial assistance linked to support of the pro-abortion agenda? A few years ago a new diplomat questioned her country’s sponsorship of a resolution. Immediately afterward the lobbyist from the U.N. Population Fund threatened her country with losing financial aid. That is a potent weapon. 

I could go on throughout the all the regions of the world and find similar reasons why our pro-life coalition at the U.N. is so small.

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.

No one knows the yearly global body count owing to abortion. Is it 50 million? The “official” data say so, but it is likely more; possibly much more. This represents the grossest human rights tragedy of all time and would get exponentially worse if U.N. radicals get their way.

If one were simply adding up columns of death, this column would dwarf all others; all wars, all persecutions, all pogroms, and all final solutions. It is all the more barbaric because these victims have no way to fight back, and nowhere to run. 

And we are supposed to stand aside because the Muslims make defending the unborn possible?  

We in the U.N. pro-life movement believe we are called to this fight in particular. We applaud those who work on other legitimate human rights issues like religious persecution. But we believe the right to life comes first. It is the right that makes all other rights and freedoms possible including freedom of religion.

We also believe that in our own way we do fight for religious freedom. In working with Muslim diplomats, in becoming friends with them, even by loving them, we believe we are changing hearts and minds. And in our own – perhaps mysterious – way, we do help our beleaguered brothers and sisters. This commonly misunderstood way is the way of Christ.

Austin Ruse is the President of the New York and Washington, D.C.-based Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute (C-FAM), a research institute that focuses exclusively on international social policy. The opinions expressed here are Mr. Ruse’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the policies or positions of C-FAM.

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Comments (19)Add Comment
written by Gian, January 13, 2012
Last year the bid to decriminalize homosexual relations in India was stopped solely due to the opposition of Muslim Ulema.
The Muslims are only 12% of Indian population and the majority 81% Hindu population did not care sufficiently or even at all. The Ulema are also vigilant against coercive family planning which is again something Hindu religious leaders are not concerned with.
written by John Sobieski, January 13, 2012
C-Fam stands with Muslims and against traditional Catholics. Interesting strategy.
written by Manfred, January 13, 2012
I want to thank you for all the very difficult work you and your forces are accomplishing in keeping the U.N. at bay. We lose sight of the great conflict being waged and the sheer number of lives which are at stake. Imagine that the only allies in the world which the Vatican has are the Muslims. What an indictment of Vatican II and its "Fruits".
written by Austin Ruse, January 13, 2012
C-Fam does not take a position on intra-Catholic matters except insofar as we are faithful to the Church in all things. As individuals, we are all traditional Catholics.
written by Howard Kainz, January 13, 2012
@Austin Ruse: "Post-Christian Europe ... leads the fight to make abortion the law of the world."
We should take into account that European laws are generally much more restrictive than U.S. policies which permit almost unlimited elective abortions. And the present U.S. administration is competing with Europe in funding abortion throughout the world.
written by Ars Artium, January 13, 2012
I find it difficult to understand why this piece should elicit anything other than gratitude to the C-Fam organization; in particular, to those who had the courage to be present at the UN on that night. We must remember that God is the Father of us all; in that sense, we must encourage solidarity whenever we find it. God will give the increase.
written by Brian English, January 13, 2012
Catholics and Muslims are natural allies on a host of moral issues. It is tragic that the Muslim refusal to recognize freedom of religion introduces such difficulties into the relationship. However, there can be no thought given to rejecting their aid on this fundamental issue.
written by Austin Ruse, January 13, 2012

True about Europe's laws but they still lead the charge on abortion globally.
written by Maureen Martin, January 13, 2012
It is one thing to make limited alliance with Muslim bureaucrats at the U.N. over abortion. It is quite something else to romanticize a pragmatic cooperation. It is misleading to think of Muslims as "pro-life" when Islam itself is lethal.
written by Mike, January 13, 2012
Bless you in your work. This fight is like the battle of Normandy. If the Allies had not fought together, Nazi's would still be exterminating Jews and invalids.
written by Sue, January 13, 2012
The UN was built by Communists and is scandal-ridden. Does it deserve to survive? It's very ability to propose items like a "human right to abortion" should call the suitability of its existence into question.

The many member countries are riven by the rising tide of statism over the past century, funded by the plutocrats. The only reason the Muslim nations are so distinctive is *because* of their totalitarianism. Non-Muslim states don't have the luxury of simply issuing binding decisions at will on these issues. Is it fair to hold their greater democracy against the non-Muslim states?

Many of the Muslim nations or coalitions have been/are working with the Communists to bring the US "Great Satan" down. The complicity with terrorist groups is massive, and the threat to US from within by Sharia is significant. Are you saying you don't mind us becoming another Sharia state if it protects us from abortion?

Islam has its own definition of marriage, religion, and indeed "worthy life". And they have an exceptional use of "taqiyya" or deception approved for their use by the Koran. In Europe, people are being prosecuted and terrorized for speaking the truth that Mohammed had sex with a child. Homosexuals can be killed under Sharia, adulterers (or even rape victims) stoned to death). This ideology is a cartoon of our prolife philosophy.

Don't make the same mistake FDR (or was it his mistake or deliberate maneuver at Yalta?) and think that, like "Uncle Joe" Stalin, the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

Perhaps we United States citizens should tend to our own garden and get the inalienable right to life protected *in this country* before make common cause with Islam.
written by Stephen Golay, January 13, 2012
Much praise to God for the result - however achieved, I guess.

Grant many Muslims do, but does Islam truly have the same understanding as Christianity - let alone Catholicism? For in Islam no individual person stands within his own dignity before God the Creator. In the end, Islam's collective trumps all - what matters is being (even born) islamic not a person created by God regardless, above, and beyond the 'community' one is born into. Islam would see that as a heresy.

As for homosexuality Islam (both doctrinally and in practice) is confused and conflicted. One only needs to experience islamic societies to understand that. See articles by Jamie Glazov at FrontPage (see archives) to get my point.

This puts me in mind - not of Muslims and Islam - but of Eastern Orthodoxy. Once administering a small church sponsored high School, such questions were put to the students. The response came back (especially from the male students) that it was OK to "do it" to non-Orthodox persons because they were not truly persons (in the fullest sense). One is only a person if one is an Orthodox Christian - and only fully such when one is standing before God liturgically. In short order, God does not give a wit for you if you are not standing sacra mentally before him; and, even then, his care (his awareness) is for the Communal Church not for the individual person searched for, found, and loved. He doesn't think of you at all, the priest said. No wonder his high school students were all screwed up and screwing around. The same conceit they applied to abortion: one does not abort a person if the mother/father are not Orthodox. Collective identity trumps.

In Islam it's worse. The islamic collective plays a totalitarian trump over all.

Again, Islam abhors homosexuality? Please, get real! Just take a trip to the main rail terminal in Karachi, Pakistan - within walking distance, 10,000 boy and teenage prostitutes for hire. Or, better yet, read the foundational islamic texts with a queer eye.
written by Stephen Golay, January 13, 2012

Question. In Islam, what is the theological underpinning for Honor Killing? It's there - and speaks volumes (bloody loud) of Islam's supposed pro-life position.
written by Greenman, January 14, 2012
If I'm drowning and the hand that is held out is a muslim hand, do I knock it? I'm Catholic and yes, our beliefs are certainly different. But, Gandhi also said: An eye for an eye and the world goes blind. I think God has opportunities like the one at the UN, to show His glory. God will use anyone to fulfil His purposes. What is He calling you to do?
Of course horror stories about the other side are many. I'm from India. I've seen them up close. But, as a Christian, at what point do I look at a Muslim and say: You are fearfully and wonderfully made? Thanks for the article.
written by Michael Paterson-Seymour, January 14, 2012
One recalls the words of the Second Vatican Council in Nostra Aetate
"The Church regards with esteem also the Moslems. They adore the one God, living and subsisting in Himself; merciful and all- powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth, who has spoken to men; they take pains to submit wholeheartedly to even His inscrutable decrees, just as Abraham, with whom the faith of Islam takes pleasure in linking itself, submitted to God. Though they do not acknowledge Jesus as God, they revere Him as a prophet. They also honor Mary, His virgin Mother; at times they even call on her with devotion. In addition, they await the day of judgment when God will render their deserts to all those who have been raised up from the dead. Finally, they value the moral life and worship God especially through prayer, almsgiving and fasting.

Since in the course of centuries not a few quarrels and hostilities have arisen between Christians and Moslems, this sacred synod urges all to forget the past and to work sincerely for mutual understanding and to preserve as well as to promote together for the benefit of all mankind social justice and moral welfare, as well as peace and freedom."
written by Stephen Golay, January 15, 2012
Gentlemen, you miss the point.

Yes, praise God for this or that, but does Islam (on the basis of its foundational texts and the words and deeds of Muhammad) confess the same understanding of Islam as Judaism and Christianity.

My contention, it does not. Therefore .. .

And, diverting the issue by declaring that the way to understanding is straight and smooth because Islam confesses "one god" - as if that is some comfort. Does Islam truly worship the one true God? Can that claim be questioned - or is such inquiry "off the table"? If the possibility is there that Islam's understanding of God is utter other than those of Jews and Christians does that speak to Islam's take on Personhood. If Allah refuses to participate in even the notion of Personhood, let alone the state of BEING, how does that inform Islam's foundational definition of Persons. There is no comfort in declaring the One God if that god is capricious, arbitrary, and totalitarian in his self-understanding. That is why Islam abhors utterly the Christian habit of calling God Father. Such a god may be "one", but so much like a black cube stone falling its weight upon us - crashing, crushing. Give us a God who lays aside, puts aside, and walks the path to our garden gate. Bless him who takes our flesh upon and into Himself. Now there's a God worthy of praise, and our affection.

What is Allah so afraid of - that he refuses the caress of the bone and skin of our very personz?

I contend that Allah refuses to look upon Man as the God of Jews and Christians - he sees no image of himself in

written by John Sobieski, January 16, 2012
"C-Fam does not take a position on intra-Catholic matters except insofar as we are faithful to the Church in all things. As individuals, we are all traditional Catholics."

Your habitual treatment Muslims contrasts starkly with your habitual treatment of traditional Catholics. I think the conclusion is inescapable that C-Fam is more comfortable working with Muslims than with traditional Catholics in the pro-life cause.
written by Kinana, January 16, 2012
My take on this is is good to prevent abortions is good to work with others to achieve this goal is also necessary to keep your eyes wide open and know who you are working with!

Islam teaches that every child born is a Muslim and is led astray by non-Muslim parents and society. Also the more Muslims in the population the sooner Sharia law will be implemented and imposed on Non-Muslims.

Here are just two quotes of many that I could share:

“One day, millions of men will leave the Southern Hemisphere to go to the Northern Hemisphere. And they will not go there as friends. Because they will go there to conquer it. And they will conquer it with their sons. The wombs of our women will give us victory.”
– Houari (Mohamed) Boumedienne, President of Algeria, 1965 – 1978, in a 1974 speech at the UN

Mullah Krekar, a refugee from northern Iraq and living in Norway said in 2006: “Just look at the development within Europe, where the number of Muslims is expanding like mosquitoes.” Another translation says: 'We will take over Europe because we Muslims multiply like mosquitoes.'

So yes, work with Muslims to save unborn children but know that some Muslims do this in order to have enough ‘troops’ to bring about a Muslim dominated society. Islam teaches that non-Muslims are only good as a source of labour and wealth, in other words, as servants/slaves to Muslims.
written by douglas, July 08, 2012
My starting point would be that "God is in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself in Christ" (2Cor. 5:19) and "until the full number of gentiles comes in" (Romans 11:25) and my conclusion is that even though many see muslims conquering christianity, God sees Himself reconciling all things in Christ, in His Church.
As to a particular teaching of Islam versus a particular teaching of Christianity, I would say a more importantant question is: How many of the muslims are actively seeking to know the Truth? or is it like with most "christians", who are so much in the world that they do not find time to personally seek the truth that God wants all to find and believe?
I would like to ask: Is there anyone who is dialoguing with our muslim brothers who has tried starting with Gen. 17: 20,21 and the conclusion that God keeps all of His promises? Do they agree that God WILL KEEP HIS promise and He will make of Ishmael a great nation? BUT, He will also keep His covenant through Isaac. Both promises will be kept. Do they have any verifiable evidence to show that Gen 17 :21 is not God Telling us HOW He will fulfill Gen. 17:20

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