CR:OTCHETY: Ecumenical Initiative Launched During Ramadan

Prejudice: Would you get into a Muslim driven taxi during Ramadan?
'CR:OTCHETY' (Catholic Ramadan: Overcoming The Concerns over Hazards in Enterprise at this Time of Year) is a new joint ecumenical initiative begun this year between the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales and the Muslim Council of Great Britain.

Noting that fasting can lead to a naturally short temper, lack of sleep and even natural rage, the initiative seeks to build upon existing warm relations between Catholics and Muslims in the United Kingdom. As well as sharing belief in One God, the the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales maintain that Catholics and Muslims share the burden of self-imposed bodily punishment at certain points in the year.

Catholics, though now back into the swing of eating healthily again after another exhausting Lent - in which some Catholics ate as little as two light meals followed by a dinner not consisting of more than the sum of these light meals -  know how it feels to fall into a bad temper during the great seasons of fasting and penance in the Church. Fasting, as well as bringing a bad temper, can also bring weight loss, drowsiness, headaches, stomach pains and insomnia.

'Punishing': Salmon dish suffered by Catholic penitents in Lent
One Bishop, speaking of the initiative, but who did not want to be named, said: "We all remember how difficult Lent can be - two light meals and a full dinner not consisting of the sum of the two light meals - and that on some days of Lent, some of us cannot even eat a pound of steak, often resorting to cod, mackerel, marinated herrings or salmon instead, such as on Fridays. Such days can be terribly punishing on the body, but few raise concerns about our fasting and penitence in terms of public hazards. We are concerned that the public may have these concerns over Muslims during Ramadan and would like to join in solidarity with them in overcoming prejudice."


"Therefore," he continued, "we understand the self-imposed suffering brought about by fasting that Muslims experience, eating absolutely nothing until the sun goes down and nightfall arrives. At this time of year, then, many British people may feel tempted to refuse to get into a Muslim taxi driver's car, for example, due to concerns that the driver may not have slept much, will possibly be incredibly irritable, bad tempered, drowsy and, most of all, crotchety. We are pleased to lead this joint initiative in overcoming prejudice against Muslims who may suffer in certain trades, such as railway signal workers, at this time of year."

Seeing red?: Government minister dismisses safety concerns
The Government, however, has rejected any notion that Muslims fasting during Ramadan posed any threat to health and safety, saying there is no need for the CR:OTCHETY initiative to overcome prejudice against drowsy, fatigued, or undernourished Muslim workers.

One Government minister, who also did not want to be named, said, "There is really no immediate need for the CR:OTCHETY initiative since we believe that the number of the general public concerned over public safety in Ramadan is negligible. However, anyone concerned that Muslim railway signal workers may fall asleep on the job is pandering to dangerous prejudice and we welcome the Catholic Bishop's initiative in overcoming prejudice against Muslims at this time of year."

One Catholic sports the new CR:OTCHETY t-shirt
Parishes around the country will be given CR:OTCHETY stickers for the cars of Catholics during Ramadan that say, "I support Muslims fasting around Britain during Ramadan" next week and CR:OTCHETY t-shirts, to be worn by Catholics in solidarity with Muslims at this time of year, will also be made available from the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales priced just £7.99 each, with one Bishop commending them to the Faithful:

"At this time of year," he said, "during Ramadan, we recall the great tradition of fasting and penance cherished by the Church during penitential seasons of our liturgical year and commend the new t-shirts to be worn by Catholics as a sign of our mutual understanding with Muslims not just in the United Kingdom, but around the World, such as Syria and Egypt, Indonesia, Sudan, Nigeria and elsewhere, where the on-going mutually respectful dialogue between Muslims and Christians continues despite some considerable setbacks."

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