Since its formation, the committee has met twice at the Vatican and once at the United Nations headquarters in New York.
The committee's first meeting took place Sept. 11 at the pope's residence in Casa Santa Marta in Vatican City. "The date was chosen as a sign of the will to build life and fraternity where others sowed death and destruction," according to a Holy See statement.
During this meeting the group appointed Cardinal Miguel Angel Ayuso Giuxot, President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, as president of the committee, and Mohamed Mahmoud Abdel Salam, former advisor to the Grand Imam of al-Azhar, as secretary.
Among the committee's Muslim members are Secretary-General of the Muslim Council of Elders Sultan Faisal Al Remeithi, President of Al-Azhar University Mohamed Hussein Mahrasawi, Higher Council of Muslims member Yasser Hareb, and Chairman of Abu Dhabi's Department of Culture and Tourism Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak.
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Msgr. Yoannis Lahzi Gaid, a Coptic Catholic priest and Pope Francis' personal secretary, is a member of the executive office of the committee, along with Sultan Al Remeithi and Yasser Hareb.
The committee added M. Bruce Lustig, rabbi of the Washington Hebrew Congregation as a member in September, and later also added Irina Bokova, former director-general of UNESCO.
"The prayer for humanity is just one stage. We want to support this document because it becomes even more relevant now after the COVID-19 pandemic," Bokova said in an online press conference May 11.
During their meeting with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres the committee proposed that Feb. 4 be declared the "World Day of Human Fraternity" and asked the United Nations, along with the Holy See and al-Azhar Mosque, to create a "World Summit On Human Fraternity."
Feb. 4 marks the date that Pope Francis and el-Tayeb signed the Document on Human Fraternity during the pope's apostolic journey to the UAE.
Bishop Hinder told CNA that Pope Francis is held in high esteem by Muslims in the region since his visit.
"I see the fruits of Pope Francis's visit primarily in an improvement of the climate in the relationship. The interest of knowing each other better and to be in touch with one anoter has grown. The non-Muslim religious communities have experienced a growing recognition by the governments, who are keen to guarantee our security," he said.
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"Right now, of course, we are in an extraordinary situation of the pandemic, which has led to a stillstand of the public worship for all (including the Muslims). However, I am expecting that step by step we shall get back (or forward) to a certain normality," he added.
Courtney Mares is a Rome Correspondent for Catholic News Agency. A graduate of Harvard University, she has reported from news bureaus on three continents and was awarded the Gardner Fellowship for her work with North Korean refugees.