US President Biden: Human fraternity can help build better world

US President Joe Biden issues a letter to mark the second International Day of Human Fraternity, and says now is the time to build a better world and uphold human rights.

By Devin Watkins

As the world marks the third anniversary of the signing of the Document on Human Fraternity on Friday, American President Joe Biden sent a letter to express his support for the values laid out in the document signed in 2019 by Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmed Al-Tayyeb.

President Biden lamented the long-held mindset that prosperity is a “zero-sum game” that pits human beings against each other in a race to get ahead.

“This cramped idea has been a source of human conflict for centuries, and to this day, many communities around the world face violence, persecution, and abuse simply because of who they are, what they believe, or where they come from.”

Working together in openness

President Biden said the challenges facing humanity are too great for any one group to solve, adding that everyone is called to band together to find solutions.

He mentioned the Covid-19 pandemic, the climate crisis, and the spread of violence as examples of these challenges.

“They require us to speak with one another in open dialogue to promote tolerance, inclusion, and understanding,” he said. “Above all, they require us to be open minded, cooperative, and empathetic and to ensure that all people are treated with dignity and as full participants in society.”

Faith offers ‘beacon of hope’

The US President pointed to the light of faith which he said has always been a “beacon of hope and a calling to purpose” in his own life, even in his darkest days.

The International Day of Human Fraternity, he said, binds together the teachings of many faith traditions that urge people to “love one another, serve and protect the most vulnerable, and uphold the dignity of every person”.

President Biden said the commemoration offers the chance to reaffirm the inherent humanity that unites all people.

“Together, we have a real opportunity to build a better world that upholds universal human rights, lifts every human being, and advances peace and security for all.”

Gratitude for President Biden’s letter

In a separate statement, the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity thanked President Biden for his letter of support.

Judge Mohamed Abdelsalam, the Committee’s Secretary-General, expressed appreciation for the many messages from world leaders. “I reiterate my gratitude to the leadership of the United Arab Emirates for supporting the journey of human fraternity from its very beginnings,” he said.

Cardinal Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot, President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, echoed those expressions of gratitude and said the event offers an opportunity to increase our attention to the poor, homeless, oppressed, and vulnerable.

“I hope human fraternity will turn into a global movement of promoting moral values shared by all peoples from all walks of life,” said the Cardinal. “On behalf of the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity, we appreciate President Biden’s statement on this important day.”