On September 11, 2019, the first meeting of the Higher Committee for achieving the goals contained in the Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together, established in August this year, took place in Casa Santa Marta. The date was chosen as a sign of the will to build life and fraternity where others sowed death and destruction.
The committee is made up of seven members. The Holy See is represented by H.E. Mons. Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot, MCCJ, President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, and by Mons. Yoannis Lahzi Gaid, Personal Secretary of the Holy Father. The University of Al-Azhar participates with its Head, Prof. Dr. Mohamed Husin Abdelaziz Hassan, and with Mohamed Mahmoud Abdel Salam, Judge and Ex Advisor to Grand Imam Al-Tayyib. The United Arab Emirates are represented by H.E. Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Culture, Yasser Saeed Abdulla Hareb Almuhairi, writer and journalist, and Sultan Faisal Al Khalifa Alremeithi, Secretary-General of the Muslim Elders.
The Holy Father greeted the members and heads of the secretariat of the Committee and gave the members a copy of the Document on Human Fraternity realized by the Vatican Apostolic Library. He then expressed some words of gratitude and encouragement to the members of the Committee, “artisans of fraternity”, for them to be at the origin of new policies “not only of outstretched hands but of open hearts”. After being received by the Substitute of the Secretariat of State, H.E. Mons. Edgar Peña Parra, the Committee returned to Casa Santa Marta to start its works.
During the session, the members appointed the President of the Committee, H.E. Mons. Miguel Angel Ayuso Guixot, MCCJ, and the Secretary, Mohamed Mahmoud Abdel Salam, as well as the members of the Executive Office, Mons. Yoannis Lahzi Gaid, Yasser Saeed Abdulla Hareb Almuhairi, and Sultan Faisal Al Khalifa Alremeithi. They also worked on the text of the Statutes that will regulate the Committee’s activity.
The Committee expressed its gratitude to Pope Francis, for his welcome and encouragement, to Grand Imam Al-Tayyib for his encouraging words, and to His Highness Muhamad Ben Zaid, for the support he has offered the Committee.
The Committee then identified some concrete steps to initiate its activity. These include the proposal, to be made to the United Nations, to define a date, between 3rd and 5th February, to be proclaimed Day of Human Fraternity, and the decision to invite representatives of other religions to be part of the Committee.
Finally, the members set the Committee’s next meeting on September 20, 2019 in New York.
As the meeting ended, each member prayed, according to his own faith, for the victims of 11th September and of every act of terrorism.