To motivate young people to observe fasting and prayer during the 40-day Lent, Catholics are promoting the religious occasion this year as a "Christian Ramadan", the Daily Telegraph reported on Tuesday, February 12.
Der Kuil said the idea of "Christian Ramadan" was spurred by concerns that the Lent has become less important for Dutch over the last generation, especially since the Vatican loosened fasting strictures in 1967.
He notes that of the four million Dutch who describe themselves as Catholics and the 400,000 who attend Mass every week only a few tens of thousands still fast Lent.
Most Catholics now focus on charitable work during the 40-day feast.
Through the "Christian Ramadan" campaign, the organizers hope to bring back spirituality and sobriety to the Catholic tradition.
Der Kuil said they wanted to benefit from the increasing familiarity and popularity of the word Ramadan.
"The fact that we use a Muslim term is related to the fact that Ramadan is a better-known concept among young people than Lent."
Der Kuil recognized that through the campaign they came to realize the amount of similarities between Muslims and Christians.
"The agreements are more striking than the differences," der Kuil maintained.
"Both for Muslims and Catholic faithful the values of frugality and spirituality play a central role in this tradition."
Several thoughts come to mind:
The real problem in Europe isn't "Multiculturalism" or "Shari'ah" or "Jihad" or "Eurabia" or any of the other bogey words that have come to symbolize the West's Islamophobia. The real problem is that most Muslims practice what they preach, that they live their religion (as we are supposed to), and that just scares the crap out of them. Because Europeans are afraid of religion. Because living a religious life will take them out of their comfort zone, introducing them to new routines and a new lifestyle. But especially because they realize that they live in a religious backwater. That despite all their material achievements and economic success, they've become spiritually backwards. The Quraish were in a similar situation during the last stages of the Age of Jahiliyah: economically successful, spiritually impoverished. Allah (swt) was merciful to the Quraish: they realized the truth before it was too late and became Muslim when they had the chance. The question now is whether Europeans (in particular, and the West in general) will do the same.