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Document on Human Fraternity Signed by Grand Imam of Al-Azahar and His Holiness Pope Francis

The Document on Human Fraternity is being regarded as one of the most significant in contemporary human history. It contains a set of lofty humanitarian principles aimed at promoting the values of dialogue and coexistence among all people, irrespective of their differences.

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The Document on Human Fraternity is being regarded as one of the most significant in contemporary human history. It contains a set of lofty humanitarian principles aimed at promoting the values of dialogue and coexistence among all people, irrespective of their differences.

Byline Khoder Nashar

Since its establishment in 2014, the Muslim Council of Elders has been dedicated to promoting humanitarian values, clearing misconceptions, confronting extremist ideologies, and uniting efforts to address global challenges.

Under the chairmanship of His Eminence Ahmed Al-Tayeb, Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, the Council comprises a select group of the Muslim nation’s leading scholars, wise men, and dignitaries known for their wisdom, moderation, and independence. These members have a significant influence in the Muslim world and dedicate their efforts to all humanity.

A decade later, the Muslim Council of Elders has achieved numerous accomplishments in advancing a culture of tolerance and peaceful coexistence. Among the most notable achievements are the East-West dialogues, organised in cooperation with Al-Azhar, the Catholic Church, the World Council of Churches, and the Church of Canterbury in the United Kingdom.

Initiated by His Eminence Ahmed Al-Tayeb, Grand Imam of Al-Azhar and Chairman of the Muslim Council of Elders, these dialogue rounds were warmly received by Religious Leaders from Western Europe including Florence, Paris, Geneva, as well as Cairo, Abu Dhabi, and Manama. The dialogue rounds aimed to fulfill the Council’s vision of enhancing world peace through acquaintance, harmony, and coexistence, and supporting dialogue among all different religions and cultures.

The rounds of East-West dialogues culminated in the signing of the Document on Human Fraternity by His Eminence Ahmed Al-Tayeb, Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, and His Holiness Pope Francis, Pontiff of the Catholic Church. This document, regarded as one of the most significant in contemporary human history, contains a set of lofty humanitarian principles aimed at promoting the values of dialogue, tolerance, coexistence, and human fraternity among all people, irrespective of their differences and diversity. Furthermore, the document extends an invitation to world decision-makers, thinkers, philosophers, faith leaders, artists, media professionals, and creatives worldwide to rediscover the values of peace, justice, goodness, beauty, human fraternity, and coexistence.

The document received extensive global acclaim, leading the United Nations General Assembly to designate the day of its signing as the International Day of Human Fraternity. It has been included in the curricula of major educational institutions around the world, such as Al-Azhar, Georgetown University, and educational programmes in the United Arab Emirates and East Timor, where the document was also proclaimed a national constitution in May 2022. Moreover, it has been adopted in the Vatican, Bahrain, Egypt, Lebanon, the United States of America, and elsewhere.

Dialogue within the Islamic communities has been a key component of the Council’s vision since its establishment. The call by His Eminence the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Dr. Ahmed Al-Tayeb, during the Bahrain Dialogue Forum, to strengthen Islamic affairs and Muslim unity, and to affirm that religious fraternity underpins human fraternity, preceded a visit by the Council’s Secretariat General delegation to the Republic of Iraq early last year.

This visit, encompassing Najaf, Karbala, Baghdad, and Erbil, initiated a serious and effective dialogue with all segments of the Iraqi population. It aimed to forge a new phase of understanding among all Islamic denominations and to discuss the foremost contemporary challenges confronting the Muslim nation, strategies for bridging divides, and the significance of cooperation and understanding among adherents of the same religion. This was in preparation for the much-anticipated visit by His Eminence the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar to the Republic of Iraq, eagerly awaited by all Iraqis.

At the beginning of this month, the 17th meeting of the Muslim Council of Elders took place in Abu Dhabi, chaired by His Eminence Ahmed Al-Tayeb, Grand Imam of Al-Azhar. Attended by numerous religious leaders and distinguished intellectual figures from across the globe, the meeting concentrated on Islamic-Islamic dialogue and exploring avenues to unify all Muslims.

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