In two other pieces today, I've highlighted reasons for concern about Islam. But I don't want to be entirely negative, because I do think Islam can serve as a salutary reminder of some aspects of the Catholic patrimony that have been neglected in our time.
Many Islamic practices are very similar to traditional Christian ones. That's not surprising - in its origins St John Damacene thought Islam was best thought of a Christian heresy rather than a totally new religion.
There will always be major theological differences: the Christian emphasis on the mysteries of the faith is at direct odds with the clear cut nature of much Islamic beliefs.
But there is at least some common ground that may be able to be found in the fight against the pernicious influence of secularism.
And at the level of practice, there are things we can learn from. For example, the value of fasting at the appropriate season. As Cardinal Pell has pointed out in relation to the recently ended Ramadan: "The discomfort of hunger and thirst helps develop self-control and conquer anger and reminds participants of the sufferings of the poor and the starving. Worship and prayer accompany the fasting so encouraging both contemplation and community spirit."