How realistic is a “call to all God-fearing Christians, Jews, and Muslims to unite together in a ‘religious war’ against the common enemy of godless secular humanism, materialism, and immorality”? Review of American Muslim political behavior undermines this online description of Catholic scholar Peter Kreeft’s thesis in his 1996 book Ecumenical Jihad: Ecumenism and the Culture War.
A recent Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) intern might seem to validate the book’s appeal “for a moratorium on our polemics against one another so that we can form an alliance to fight together to save Western civilization.” Jonathan Herrera wrote that at CAIR he wanted “to do my part in uniting all people of faith once again as one nation, under God, and to help stop the drift away from our nation’s founding principle of religious freedom.” A CAIR press release also recently opposed certain state law initiatives because their “provisions can be used to permit bias targeting members of minority faiths.”
Yet the specific concerns of CAIR and Herrera are illuminative. “CAIR believes the recent wave of state Religious Freedom Restoration Acts (RFRA) represents a cynical move intended to protect bias under the guise of religious liberty,” the press release stated. For CAIR, Herrera meanwhile wrote, his focus was to “track legislation that sought to discriminate against or to vilify the American Muslim Community.” Such “anti-foreign law” or “anti-sharia” legislation comes from a “nationwide movement by Islamophobic groups and individuals to introduce these unconstitutional laws in state legislatures nationwide.”
Such priorities seem strangely misplaced. RFRAs have gained national attention as Christian business owners seek to protect conscientious exemptions against Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) laws mandating “equality” for homosexuality and transgenderism. American Laws for American Courts (ALAC) laws prohibit judicial application of foreign law in violation of state or federal constitutional rights. In contrast to numerous LGBT lawsuits and even death threats against Christian businesses, no reported rights violations have occurred in the ten states with ALAC.
Pace Kreeft, American Muslim organizations like the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) have often veered left politically. ISNA, CAIR’s fellow radical Muslim Brotherhood-legacy organization and unindicted terrorism financing co-conspirator, has endorsed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), a federal SOGI law. The Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU) has also placed opposition to ALAC in a broader rainbow coalition against pro-life, natural marriage, voter identification, and right-to-work laws.
Beyond the culture wars, CAIR has endorsed a potpourri of progressive politics, such as a minimum wage raise and the recent removal of a Confederate flag from the South Carolina state capitol. A CAIR press release adopted the standard leftist mythology on the Ferguson, Missouri, police shooting of Michael Brown as an incident showing that “many Americans still feel the impact of institutional racism.” Following the 2005 death of civil rights icon Rosa Parks, CAIR created the Rosa Parks Civil Liberties Scholarship, an additional positioning of CAIR as a civil rights organization.
CAIR’s last conservative stance appears to have followed the June 2000 United States Supreme Court Stenberg v. Carhart decision, when CAIR rightfully denounced partial birth abortion. “More than 1400 years ago, the Quran, Islam’s revealed text, prohibited the practice of female infanticide,” CAIR noted while citing Quran 81:8-9; “It is sad that the Supreme Court would have us return to that pre-Islamic period of ignorance.” Notwithstanding such continuing ignorance, CAIR has remained silent in the ensuing years as America’s abortion debates have only become more vocal.
CAIR’s behavior indicates the fickleness of certain pro-life Islamic doctrines and somewhat encouraging survey data of Muslim abortion views in the West. Abortion certainly did not hinder Meira Neggaz from becoming ISPU executive director after being “Senior Program Officer for Marie Stopes International (MSI), a leading, UK-based organization working in 42 countries.” Named for a British woman who shared racist and eugenicist views with her American family planning colleague, Margaret Sanger, MSI promotes and provides “safe abortion.”
Islam scholar Robert Spencer has analyzed why the hopes of his fellow Catholic and former teacher Kreeft are misplaced, as expressed to him in an insightful debate. Despite “apparent moral similarities between the two religions,” Spencer writes, “the Muslim understanding of marriage and sexual morality differs so greatly from the Christian understanding that it renders those similarities void.” This negates the “common argument among Christian social conservatives” about Christian-Muslim culture war alliances. “[M]any Christians, Catholics in particular, believe that Muslims are pro-life and thus reliable comrades-in-arms on life issues, but this is also a false assumption.”
Indeed, certain ironic alliances might arise between gay-unfriendly Muslims and LGBT groups. Continuing adherence to Islamic polygamy might induce some Muslims to acquiescence in a homosexual redefinition of marriage, with the hope that societal acceptance of polygamy will follow. One online hypothetical inquiry into whether a Muslim baker would cater a same-sex “marriage” ceremony raised little attention, suggesting that LGBT groups might tacitly acknowledge their political friends.
A video by the secular humanist Center for Inquiry (CFI) documenting a 2015 Washington, DC, Interfaith Leadership Summit indicates the future political path of many Muslim groups like CAIR. “From abolition to women’s rights to the civil rights movement to gay rights, these things have been done been by people of all faiths and philosophies,” stated CFI senior policy analyst Ed Beck. While unquestionably lauding “gay rights,” Beck failed to mention any faith role in the pro-life movement, something perhaps opposed by his conception of women’s rights. He also did not indicate whether Christianity and Islam have been on opposite sides of abolition.
Summit participants belied CAIR Community Outreach and Events Manager Lauren Schreiber’s statement of “so many universals and so much overlap” among faiths. Harsh Voruganti manned a table for the Hindu-American Foundation, a Hindu nationalist organization that has advocated legal restrictions against evangelization in India. Islamic activist and 9/11 Truther Saba Ahmed appeared among the attendees. A desire for allies cannot obviate Christ’s dictum to “be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.”