Friday 29 September 2023 - 1:08:29 am

Higher Committee of Human Fraternity meets UN Chief to present plans on Abrahamic Family House

NEW YORK, 5th December, 2019 (WAM) -- The Higher Committee of Human Fraternity, a group of religious leaders, educational scholars and cultural leaders from across the world, have met with the United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, and other senior UN representatives, to present plans on the Abrahamic Family House, introduce the Committee members and discuss the group’s long-term vision. During the meeting, the Committee also shared their proposal to create an International Human Fraternity Summit to find practical ways of enabling peaceful coexistence and understanding.

Commenting on the meeting, UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, said: "The Human Fraternity Document, signed by the Grand Imam and Pope Francis, represents the practical application of religious tolerance and respect, and a direct and intended message to all believers that diversity in religion is a divine wisdom, just like difference in color, gender and language. I look forward to the realization of the efforts of the Committee through meetings with religious leaders and heads of international organizations and other figures, in addition to various initiatives that would spread peace and love among all human beings.

"The signing of this document by the world's top religious figures reflects the universality of its message that involves necessity of respecting and protecting the principle of religious freedom. This couldn’t have been possible without the support and efforts of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, in getting this document signed and implemented to promote global coexistence and understanding. I also admire the diversity within the Committee entrusted with achieving the document’s objectives, as it contains representatives of different religions and nationalities", Secretary-General Guterres added.

The Abrahamic Family House is one of the first projects that the Higher Committee will help guide, and will be located on Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates. Reflecting the aspirations of the Document on Human Fraternity it will include a church, mosque and synagogue which will share a collective space for the first time, serving as a community for inter-religious dialogue and exchange, nurturing the values of peaceful co-existence and acceptance among different beliefs, nationalities and cultures. The design of the Abrahamic Family House was awarded to globally-renowned architect, Sir David Adjaye OBE, in September 2019.

In addition to the Committee’s role in providing guidance on the Abrahamic Family House, the group also stewards the principles and aspirations of the Document of Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together, signed by His Holiness Pope Francis of the Catholic Church and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, His Eminence Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, in Abu Dhabi, during the historic Papal visit on February 4th, 2019. During the meeting at the UN, the Committee also proposed commemorating this day with a Summit for religious and political leaders to find practical ways of implementing the provisions of the Document of Human Fraternity.

Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of the Department of Culture – Abu Dhabi, and Higher Committee member, commented: "The Abrahamic Family House is the first major project the Committee is advising on. With a Church, Mosque and Synagogue in one place, it will be a landmark for religious tolerance, understanding and education, bringing faiths together and sending a message of unity to the world. We were honored to present the plans for this project to Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and look forward to continued engagement with the UN as we strive to achieve the aspirations outlined in the Document of Human Fraternity."

The Higher Committee of Human Fraternity includes members from the UAE, Spain, Italy, Egypt, the US, and Bulgaria. The members are: Cardinal Miguel Àngel Ayuso Guixot, President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue of the Holy See; Judge Mohamed Mahmoud Abdel Salam, Former Advisor to the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, His Eminence Sheikh Ahmad At-Tayyeb; Rabbi M. Bruce Lustig, Senior Rabbi at Washington Hebrew Congregation; Monsignor Yoannis Lahzi Gaid, Personal Secretary of the Holy Father; Professor Mohamed Hussein Mahrasawi, President of Al-Azhar University; Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of the Department of Culture – Abu Dhabi; Dr. Sultan Faisal Al Remeithi, Secretary-General of the Muslim Council of Elders; Irina Bokova, former Director-General of UNESCO; and Yasser Hareb, an Emirati writer and TV presenter.

The HCHF Secretary-General, Judge Muhammad Abdel Salam, commented: "This meeting is a key milestone for the Committee and reflects interest from international organizations in the efforts of sustaining human fraternity. The document of Human Fraternity is one of the most significant initiatives in the modern era, signed by the world’s top religious figures. Together we look forward on embarking on our journey of promoting the values of mutual respect and understanding among all human kind."

The purpose of the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity is to inspire peaceful coexistence among people of different faiths, backgrounds, and nationalities across the world. The Committee will act on the aspirations outlined in the Document of Human Fraternity by holding meetings with religious leaders, heads of international organizations, and others to encourage actions that will create a more peaceful world for all humankind.

The Higher Committee of Human Fraternity will continue to expand to incorporate leaders of other denominations and beliefs in the coming years. Most recently the former Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, joined the Committee adding significant additional international experience to help the Committee deliver on the goals and objectives set out in the Document of Human Fraternity.


WAM/Hatem Mohamed