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Marco Impagliazzo, President of the Community of Sant'Egidio Marco Impagliazzo, President of the Community of Sant'Egidio 

Pope in UAE: Community of St. Egidio at Human Fraternity Conference

Among the full spectrum of religious leaders and organizations representing faith in its different guises across the globe is the President of the Rome-based community of St. Egidio that works tirelessly for interreligious dialogue “in the spirit of Assisi”.

By Linda Bordoni – Abu Dhabi

The highlight of Pope Francis’ first full day in Abu Dhabi was his participation in the “Global Conference for Human Fraternity” organized by UAE authorities at the Founder’s Memorial.

Apart from the two key figures at the event – Pope Francis and Dr Ahmed Al Tayeb, Grand Imam of Al- Ahzar – dozens of religious leaders and scholars of different religions brought the voices of faith to the conversation during two days of intense debate.

There were Christians of all denominations, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, and Sikhs. There were even Bahai and Zoroastrian representatives giving the event a truly global and inclusive dimension.

Professor Marco Impagliazzo, President of the Rome-based Community of Saint Egidio, gave a speech appealing to all men and women of goodwill to seek peace without fear, pointing out that God does not abandon the world to the logic of violence, but comes to our rescue multiplying our efforts for peace when we turn to him in prayer.

Listen to Marco Impagliazzo

Prof. Impagliazzo says he owes his presence here to the invitation of the Grand Imam of Al- Ahzar , Dr Ahmed al Tayeb, whom he said has very close to ties to the Community of St. Egidio and walks with community members “in the spirit of Assisi”.

The spirit of Assisi

The spirit of Assisi was born of one of Pope St. John Paul II’s great intuitions when he convened 70 representatives of major religions to the town of Saint Francis in 1986 “so that a single song of peace might be offered to the one God from many hearts and in many languages”.

This spirit, Impagliazzo says, lives on, fostering dialogue between religions for peace.

“Together with The Council of Elders that Dr. Ahmed Al Tayeb presides over”, Impagliazzo says, “we are engaged to reconcile the cultures of the West and the East – especially the West and Islam”.

He points out that this is far from the first time he and the Grand Imam have been involved together in an interreligious Conference for peace.

“The Community of St. Egidio is deeply committed to doing its part in seeking dialogue and a common path for the two religions,” he says.

All religions supporting Pope Francis in his effort for peace

Impagliazzo describes the Abu Dhabi Conference as “a fundamental event for peace” that shows that in this moment of time “every religion has to be an ally for the others”.

“Isolation of religion doesn’t work in this world because we need a strong engagement of religions for peace,” he says.

Today, Impagliazzo concludes, “the Pope is the real world leader on this issue, and all the religions today are behind the Pope to support his effort for peace”.

04 February 2019, 16:14