International Day of Human Fraternity

February 4

Expo Dubai celebration of Human Fraternity: ‘Promote fraternity through leadership and laws’

By Francesca Merlo, Vatican News

Members of the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity, along with guest speaker Sheikh Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence for the UAE, celebrated the anniversary of the signing of the Document on Human Fraternity, describing it as a milestone in the journey towards global peaceful coexistence.

The International Day of Human Fraternity is being celebrated at the sustainability pavilion at Dubai’s EXPO 2020. Friday morning, anniversary of the signing of the Document on Human Fraternity by Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar saw the pavilion’s auditorium fill up with members of the Higher Committee and guests from all different cultures, religions and traditions.

A video opened the discussion, with some of the world’s great past leaders expressing their thoughts and beliefs. Gandhi first, as he announces he is a soldier of peace, then Mother Teresa, who encourages faith saying that it leads to love. Martin Luther King Jr, shared his dream for equality and finally Sheikh Al Zayed, who united the seven Emirates, describing the virtue of tolerance.

Sheikh Al Nahyan

The public stood to welcome the keynote speaker, Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahyan, the UAE’s Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence, who highlighted the commitment the Document shows in making “tolerance, peacefeul coexistence and Human Fraternity enduring components of our society”. He noted that EXPO Dubai is “an embodiment of Human Fraternity” as all of its activities “exhibit a spirit of tolerance and human connections”.

Through the objectives clearly stated in the Document on Human Fraterntiy, we must work to achieve the “three ingredients for success”, continued Sheikh Al Nahyan. The first is leadership. “The world must have leaders at all levels of society, who believe in Human Fraternity and who work to promote and protect it”, explained the Sheikh.

The second ingredient is that the action to support Human Fraternity must be part of our daily lives in society, because “a successful society is a society that empowers its people to celebrate diversity openly, confidently and safely”.

The third and final ingredient is the implementation of “laws and regulations that prohibit the spread of intolerance and extremism”.

In this way, he concluded, we will be able to celebrate Human Fraternity every day.

Judge Abdelsalam

The next speaker was Judge Mohamed Abdelsalam, Secretary of the Committee of Human Fraternity.

In his address, he highlighted how the Document fights all prejudices and helps to increase accountability. He also stressed that it gives us insurance that all of the principles include everyone in the world, “the haves and have-nots, the rich and the poor, and both genders”.

Cardinal Ayuso

Next to speak was Cardinal Miguel Angel Ayuso, President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, who described the Document as “a milestone on the path of interreligious dialogue”. The Document is not a map, he continued, but rather a day-to-day commitment of working together for the common good, helping all believers and people of goodwill to heal the wounded world”.

Dr Al Duwaini

Dr Muhammad Al Diwaini is Al Azhar Deputy Director of the Grand Imam, he spoke of the essence of the human message being to “drop any sicknesses” such as hatred and discrimination, and anything that would be a barrier to Human Fraternity. He noted that all of us, “if we follow our religion in its right form and without misinterpretation, we would be living in the best condition possible”, for all humanity, throughout history.

The Pope and the Grand Imam

Following the addresses, two video messages were shown, one sent by the Grand Imam of Al Azhar and the other by Pope Francis.

Both leaders, who signed the historic Document on 4 February 2019 in Abu Dhabi, expressed their closeness to each other, and stressed the essential need to promote fraternity and tolerance.

The event was concluded with the signing of a Memorandum, by Judge Mohamed Abdelsalam and Afra Mohemmed Al-Sabri, Director General, Ministry of Tolerance.