by Nour Salman
ON BOARD THE PAPAL FLIGHT, 5th February, 2019 (WAM) – Human Fraternity Document is an appeal and a “breath of fresh air” to people of goodwill, according to Bishop Miguel Ayuso Guixot, who says that the future of humanity passes through the necessary promotion of a culture of dialogue.
“The signing of the Human Fraternity Document in Abu Dhabi is an appeal, which means that there exists today a wounded humanity. Therefore, it is an appeal to people of goodwill, but also a duty for every being that we must absolutely seek mutual ways of collaboration and knowledge,” the Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue explained.
“It was a historical moment to witness,” the Bishop told Emirates News Agency, WAM, on board the Papal flight, while commenting on the Abu Dhabi Declaration.
It was a good opportunity to deliver, as part of this beautiful Apostolic Visit to the UAE, he added, a message that begins in Abu Dhabi, but also transcends borders, transmitted by His Holiness Pope Francis, Head of the Catholic Church, and the His Eminence Dr. Ahmad el-Tayeb, Grand Imam of Al Azhar Al Sharif, emphasising the importance of sending out universal messages of tolerance and dialogue to the world.
Bishop Guixot said that the key message behind the declaration is the future of humanity rests on inter-religious interactions and building a culture of dialogue.
“We now have a document before us, addressing in many ways to many people, the importance of acting now, through good conduct, ‘akhlak’ or behaviour, through joint collaboration,” Guixot continued.
The document, he said, begins with God as the Creator, and “we are all creatures of God, so as believers we have a specific responsibility to help people and communities.”
This is shown by commitment of the Grand Imam, and the Holy Father to bring this document forward to all authorities, policy makers and politicians, and to all people of different cultures and traditions, not just the Muslim and Christian faiths, Guixot added.
Commenting on how the document seeks to encourage human fraternity, the Bishop said that as human beings, believers, and people of goodwill, “we have to engage with each other, and educate each other.”
“I always say that the greatest enemy of dialogue is fear. Because fear means that we do not know the other,” he continued, adding that the document is a mean to engage with all walks of life to bring about peace.
“If we really want universal fraternity,” he said, “then we must get to know each other.”
The Bishop shared his thoughts on signing of the document in the UAE, saying that he was “delighted” with the celebration of the signing of the Abu Dhabi Declaration, “because this respect and friendship is at the foundation of all that we can make and build together as people for the good of humanity.”
“It was a historical moment, that will always be remembered, and we can always turn back to the signing in Abu Dhabi, remembering the core aim to better humanity, together.”
“In my position as the Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, I’m very excited, because for me I see that there is now a roadmap in this declaration for inviting worldwide communities and leaders and meeting people at grassroots level to tell them we are brothers and sisters.
“We are citizens of humanity, we are believers belonging to different religious traditions or even people of goodwill. Let us build together human solidarity in order to heal the wounds of humanity.”
The Bishop considers the Human Fraternity Declaration as a “breath of fresh air”, adding that in the media frequent images of wars and conflict deter from promoting messages of peace, “and so to hear from two prominent leaders, this open-minded message of peace to reconcile human beings, regardless of their beliefs or origins, is a big and necessary moment.”
The ‘Human Fraternity’ Document which was signed by Pope Francis and Dr. Ahmad el-Tayeb, seeks to build bridges of love, amity and coexistence among peoples and to confront extremism and its negative impacts. Through the document, the two religious leaders declared what they described as “the adoption of a culture of dialogue as the path; mutual cooperation as the code of conduct; reciprocal understanding as the method and standard.”