The Pontiff has released a video message for the 2nd UN International Day of Human Fraternity, which is being celebrated on the anniversary of the signing of the Abu Dhabi Declaration. He urges people to build a barrier "against hatred, violence and injustice". The imam of al-Azhar addresses Francis, calling him a "courageous companion" on the path "of fraternity and peace". Biden's letter: problems cannot be solved "by one single nation, or one single group".
Dubai (AsiaNews) - The path of fraternity is "long and difficult", but it is "the anchor of salvation for humanity"; "before the many threatening signs, the dark times, the logic of conflict we counterpoise the sign of fraternity" that "welcoming the other" respects "their identity".
"Not equal, no, brothers". This is what Pope Francis affirms in the video message released today, to coincide with the Second International Day of Human Fratermity promoted by the UN and three years after the signing of the document with the Imam of al-Azhar Ahmad Muhammad Al-Tayeb on the occasion of the apostolic journey to the Emirates. The Pontiff strongly emphasised that we are "all different and yet equal" and this "pandemic period" of Covid-19 "has shown us that we cannot be saved by ourselves!
The theme of brotherhood is central to ExpoDubai 2020, the international exhibition being held in the commercial and financial metropolis of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). A meeting is being held today in the Sustainability Pavilion, organised by the Emirati Ministry for Tolerance and Coexistence and the High Committee for Human Brotherhood, with the support of the Holy See and Al-Azhar University in Cairo. On the occasion of the Second Day of the United Nations on the theme "Under the same sky", the Pope and the Imam of Al-Azhar broadcast a video message, while US President Joe Biden sent a personal letter to those present.
Returning to the video message - the text of which was also released by the Vatican press office with an "unofficial" translation in Hebrew - the pope stressed that it is no longer time "for indifference: either we are brothers or everything collapses. And this is not a merely literary expression of tragedy, no, it is the truth!". The confirmation emerges "in the small wars, in this third world war in bits and pieces, how peoples are destroyed, how children have no food, how education declines... It is a destruction," warns the Pontiff, who adds that it is no longer the time for "forgetfulness. Every day we must remember what God said to Abraham: that when he looked up at the stars in the sky he would see the promise of his descendants, that is, us".
Fraternity is one of the "fundamental and universal" values underlying "relations between peoples" to ensure that those who suffer or are disadvantaged "do not feel excluded and forgotten, but welcomed". In these years, he recalled, "we have walked as brothers in the knowledge that, respecting our respective cultures and traditions, we are called to build fraternity as a barrier against hatred, violence and injustice". As believers of different religions, Pope Francis concludes, we must "make ourselves promoters of a culture of peace, which encourages sustainable development, tolerance, inclusion, mutual understanding and solidarity".
The Grand Imam of al-Azhar addresses a greeting to "dear brother Francis" whom he describes as a "ceaselessly courageous companion on the path of fraternity and peace". In the video message, al-Tayeb recalls the document signed three years ago which embraces "believers of all religions, but does not exclude non-believers" and which aims to counter "erroneous judgments and conflicts that often lead to bloodshed and wars", particularly between "followers of the same religion and believers in a single faith". In a world still marked by violence and pandemics, the imam concluded, "we have embarked on the path of hope for a new world free of wars and conflicts".
Finally, US President Biden joined those celebrating the UN Day of Brotherhood in stressing that the problems of today's world and societies - from Covid to the climate emergency - cannot be solved by one nation, or one group. The challenges of modernity, warns the White House tenant, must be met "with a frank dialogue that promotes tolerance, inclusion and understanding. And most of all, they require an open, collaborative and empathetic mind," he concluded, "ensuring that all people are treated with dignity and enjoy full participation in society.