NEW YORK — The Higher Committee of Human Fraternity has come together for a global gathering at the New York Public Library in which they shared with stakeholders their mission to progress a culture of mutual respect and dialogue across all backgrounds, beliefs, and nationalities.
The new body is empowered to provide guidance and counsel on realizing the goals of the Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together signed by Pope Francis of the Catholic Church and the Grand Imam of al-Azhar, Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), during the Papal visit in February this year.
One of the first projects the Higher Committee will help guide is the Abrahamic Family House, to be located on Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates. A reflection of the Document on Human Fraternity, a church, mosque, and synagogue will share a collective space for the first time, serving as a community for inter-religious dialogue and exchange, and nurturing the values of peaceful co-existence and acceptance among different beliefs, nationalities and cultures.
The design of the Abrahamic Family House, by the award-winning and globally-renowned architect, Sir David Adjaye OBE, was unveiled at the New York event.
Commenting on the occasion, Judge Mohamed Mahmoud Abdel Salam, Higher Committee member and Former Advisor to the Grand Imam of al-Azhar, His Eminence Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, remarked: “The formation of the Committee has come at an important time and has required all peace lovers to unite and join the efforts to spread coexistence, brotherhood, and tolerance throughout the world. I am moved by this energy and determination to spread the principles of the Document on Human Fraternity to achieve security, coexistence, and peace for everyone. I was amazed by the mutual humanity concerns that both His Holiness Pope Francis of the Catholic Church and the Grand Imam of al-Azhar, His Eminence Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, shared when they met last February; they were determined to achieve happiness for all humanity no matter the religion or nationality.”
Rabbi M. Bruce Lustig, Senior Rabbi at Washington Hebrew Congregation and a Higher Committee member said: “This is an important opportunity for all who believe in the power of faith and humanity. It will help build bridges between religious leaders and communities as well as foster peace and harmony in an era that is too often defined by difference. I am honoured to be part of such an esteemed group working to champion love over hate, justice over injustice, and faith over fear.”
The contemporary design was chosen after a rigorous process that included architects of diverse backgrounds and faiths from around the globe. Adjaye’s design is particularly striking, incorporating separate worship spaces for each religion as well as a shared space for collaboration and informal gathering. As a modern design concept it also reflects the goal of creating an enduring space for future generations.