Biden joins Pope Francis, Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, to mark Human Brotherhood Day

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ROME – On the second annual Day of Human Fraternity, religious and secular leaders united in calling for more brotherhood and solidarity, saying faith entails respect for all, regardless of their traditions or beliefs .

These leaders include Pope Francis, the Grand Imam of Egypt’s prestigious Al-Azhar Mosque and University, Ahmed al-Tayeb, and US President Joe Biden.

In a video message marking the Feb. 4 anniversary, Pope Francis said fraternity “is one of the fundamental and universal values ​​that must underpin relations between peoples.”

“In a spirit of mutual and shared brotherhood, we must all work to promote a culture of peace that encourages sustainable development, tolerance, inclusion, mutual understanding and solidarity,” he said.

The International Day of Human Fraternity is observed on the anniversary of the signing of a document on human fraternity by Pope Francis and al-Tayeb in Abu Dhabi on February 4, 2019, during the Pope’s visit in the United Arab Emirates.

The document emphasizes religious freedom as a basic human right, condemns fundamentalist terrorism, and urges world leaders to join forces to work for peace. Biden received a copy of the document from Pope Francis when they met in October.

Shortly after the Pope’s visit, a Higher Committee of Human Fraternity was formed in the United Arab Emirates and supported by Pope Francis al-Tayeb and Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Patron of human brotherhood.

The pope’s video for this year’s Human Fraternity Day celebration was shared at a Feb. 4 event in Abu Dhabi titled “Human Fraternity and the World Alliance for Tolerance Roundtable,” attended by representatives of the Vatican.

In his Feb. 4 birthday message, Biden lamented that “For too long, the narrow view that our shared prosperity is a zero-sum game has propagated – the view that for one person to be successful, another must fail; if one person gets ahead, another must fall behind.

“This cramped idea has been a source of human conflict for centuries, and to this day many communities around the world face violence, persecution and abuse simply because of who they are, what they believe or where they come from,” he said. noted.

These and other global challenges are “too big to be solved by any single nation or group of people”, he said, insisting that issues such as the coronavirus pandemic, global change climate change and violent conflict “demand that we speak to each other in open dialogue”. promote tolerance, inclusion and understanding.

“In my life, faith has always been a beacon of hope and a call to purpose even during the darkest days,” he said, insisting that Human Brotherhood Day is ” a real opportunity to build a better world that defends universal humanity”. rights, uplifts every human being, and advances peace and security for all.

In his message, Pope Francis stressed that “we all live under the same sky, regardless of where and how we live, the color of our skin, religion, social group, gender, age, economic conditions or our state of health”.

“We are all different but equal,” he said, insisting believers of all faith traditions have a role to play.

“The time has come to walk together, believers and all people of good will. Don’t leave that to tomorrow or an uncertain future,” he said. “It’s a good day to reach out, to celebrate our unity in diversity – unity, not uniformity, unity in diversity.”

“Either we are brothers and sisters, or everything falls apart,” he said, urging believers, despite the long and difficult path of brotherhood, to counter the mentalities of violence and hatred “with the sign of fraternity which, by accepting others and respecting their identity, invites them on a shared journey.

In remarks delivered at the Abu Dhabi Human Brotherhood Roundtable, al-Tayeb echoed much of what Biden and Pope Francis said, saying the anniversary is another step in “ the quest for a better world where the spirit of tolerance, fraternity, solidarity and collaboration prevails.

Calling Pope Francis “the unceasingly courageous companion on the path of brotherhood and peace,” al-Tayeb said the document on human brotherhood he signed with the pope in 2019 is the result of “our common belief in mutual understanding between followers of religions”. , without excluding non-believers, in order to get rid of errors of judgment and conflicts that often lead to bloodshed and war between peoples.

The document on human brotherhood signed by himself and the pope in 2019 was the result of “our common belief in mutual understanding between the followers of religions, without excluding non-believers, in order to get rid of errors of judgment and conflicts that often lead to bloodshed and war between peoples,” he said.

“‘All human beings are brothers and sisters,’ as the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad, asserts,” he said.

The common pursuit of human brotherhood is “far from attainable in a world plagued by limitless conflict, given that such goals are unacceptable to warmongers”, al-Tayeb said. “Yet taking the path of peace is predestined for all believers in God and his messages, regardless of challenges and obstacles.”

Al-Tayeb insisted that “God willing, I will continue to pursue the peace efforts begun, together with my fellow religious leaders and lovers of good all over the world, to achieve peace and world brotherhood and to camaraderie, and remove all stimuli of hatred, strife, and wars.

“We really need friendship, cooperation and solidarity to meet the real challenges that threaten humanity and jeopardize its stability,” he said, and prayed that Allah would “always unite us for good ends, for only He can do it.”

Follow Elise Ann Allen on Twitter: @eliseannallen

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