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Historic interfaith conference with the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Al-Sharif and the Pope of the Catholic Church

Swami Amritaswarupananda and Kanthapuram AP Aboobacker Musliyar shake hands and smile
Swami Amritaswarupananda and Kanthapuram AP Aboobacker Musliyar, General Secretary of the All India Muslim Scholars Association.

Key Points

  • In February 2019, more than 700 religious leaders convened in Abu Dhabi for the Global Conference of Human Fraternity, with the aim of fostering brotherhood and tolerance among various faiths, grounded in the belief that all religions share a common goal of promoting peace for humanity.
  • Swami Amritaswarupananda represented Amma at the conference and emphasized the importance of respecting and preserving all aspects of creation, highlighting the interconnectedness of humanity and nature.
  • The conference featured a historic meeting between two prominent religious leaders, His Eminence Dr. Ahmed El-Tayeb and His Holiness Pope Francis, addressing the principles of human fraternity, the shared responsibility to achieve it, and the challenges and opportunities associated with promoting tolerance and unity among religions. This event marked a significant step toward interfaith dialogue and cooperation in the region.
4 February 2019
Main topic

More than 700 religious leaders gathered in Abu Dhabi for the Global Conference of Human Fraternity. The goal of the two-day event was to nurture brotherhood and tolerance between religions, based on the understanding that all faiths were founded to create peace for humanity.

Members of many different religions, including Pope Francis stand together and smile
More than 700 religious leaders from around the world attended.

Swami Amritaswarupananda attended the conference on behalf of Amma. In his address he said, “We need to have constant awareness that if we harm or destroy any aspect of creation under the sun – seemingly significant or insignificant – we are, in fact, harming or destroying part of ourselves, an element of our own being.”

The conference concluded with a historic meeting between two of the world’s most prominent religious leaders: His Eminence Dr. Ahmed El-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Al-Sharif, and His Holiness Pope Francis of the Catholic Church. The Grand Imam is also the chairman of the Muslim Council of Elders, an initiative that seeks to counter religious fanaticism by promoting a moderate brand of Islam. For Pope Francis, it was the first visit by a pontiff to the Arabian Peninsula.

Pope Francis and Grand Imam Ahmed el-Tayeb hand each other documents
Pope Francis and Grand Imam Ahmed el-Tayeb at the signing of the Document on Human Fraternity.

The conference was also attended by a number of prominent intellectual, cultural and media figures from around the world. It addressed three main themes: Principles of Human Fraternity, Common Responsibility to Achieve Human Fraternity and Human Fraternity: Challenges and Opportunities.

This was Swami Amritaswarupananda’s second interfaith event in Abu Dhabi, as in November 2018 he accompanied Amma to the Interfaith Summit aimed at Protecting Child Dignity in the Digital World.

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