His Eminence the Grand Imam of Al Azhar, Dr. Ahmad el-Tayeb, has expressed his thanks to the leadership and people of the UAE for hosting the the ‘Global Conference of Human Fraternity’ which brought together religious leaders, as well as thinkers and intellectuals from around the world to witness signing of the document on ‘Human Fraternity’.
Addressing the conference today, Dr. Ahmad el-Tayeb, said the document on ‘Human Fraternity’, signed in Abu Dhabi earlier today, calls for promoting the culture of peace and respect for the others, as opposed to hateful attitudes, hostility and extremism, violence blood shedding.
"From this blessed land, we celebrate today the launching of this document on human fraternity which was conceived while I was a guest at the house of my brother and friend His Holiness Pope Francis. He and I share identical view on what solutions religions can offer to the poor, the marginalised, orphans, widows, refugees, those in exile, prisoners of war, victims of wars, persecution, injustice and torture," he said.
He continued by saying: "We also agreed that all religions have forbidden taking of innocent human life. This clearly dispels the wrong notion that religions are the main cause of war." He affirmed that "Whoever kills a person is like one who kills the whole of humanity, and that whoever saves a person is like one who saves the whole of humanity."
Dr. Ahmad el-Tayeb also noted that the document states religions must never incite war, hateful attitudes, hostility and extremism, nor must they incite violence or the shedding of blood. These tragic realities are the consequence of a deviation from religious teachings as such practices result from a political manipulation of religions and from interpretations made by religious groups who, in the course of history, have taken advantage of the power of religious sentiment in the hearts of men and women in order to make them act in a way that has nothing to do with the truth of religion.
He expressed his confidence that such initiatives will lead to fruitful outcomes in the Arab world.
"Actually, they already started to bear fruits. Recently, President Abdel Fatah el-Sisi opened the first and largest mosque and church in the new capital in Egypt, in a historic step that deepens religious harmony and national unity."
He urged the Muslims in the Middle East to open their hearts to their Christian brothers, as instructed in the Holy Quran.
"Let us not forget that Christianity sheltered Islam in its early days and protected it from the evils of paganism. At that time, Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) asked his companions who were facing persecution to go to Abyssinia, where they were welcomed and protected by its Christian king."
He also called on the youth to pursue knowledge, to embrace ethics and to adopt the 'Human Fraternity’ document to ensure a future free of conflicts, pain and hatred.
Dr. Ahmad el-Tayeb thanked His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, for patronising this historic initiative of Human Fraternity. He also thanked H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and the organising teams for making the event a success.