The book ’The Pope and the Grand Imam: A Thorny Path’ by Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Elders Judge Mohamed Abdelsalm is available to visitors of the Muslim Council of Elders' pavilion at the 54th Cairo International Book Fair. The book documents the birth of the Human Fraternity Document which was co-signed by His Holiness Pope Francis and His Eminence Dr. Ahmed Al-Tayeb the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar on 4 February 2019 in Abu Dhabi.
The book’s introduction is co-written by His Holiness Pope Francis, Pontiff of the Catholic Church and His Eminence Dr. Ahmed Al-Tayeb the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar and Chairman of the Muslim Council of Elders and has received widespread acclaim from various prominent international figures. Judge Abdelsalm says, “I tirelessly thought about publishing my memoirs on the birth of the Human Fraternity Document which was well-received internationally. I felt like that the world is my village and that humanity is family and hence it became imperative that I publish my memoirs on the matter.”
The book helps readers understand and digest the events that shaped the creation of the Human Fraternity Document through Judge Abdelsalam’s perspective. The author particularly highlights his close-knit relationship with the Grand Imam, who he describes as a peace-loving and great leader who believes in coexisting with people of different backgrounds.
Judge Abdelsalam chronicles the steps taken by the Grand Imam and Pope Francis to spreading global peace which began with the Grand Imam’s visit to the Vatican followed by the Pope’s visit to Al-Azhar. These two events would develop into a great relationship between the two religious leaders. The author also retells the United Arab Emirates’ historic role in supporting the birth of the document and particularly the efforts of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, who is the patron of human fraternity. The book concludes by documenting the efforts exerted to applying the values of the Human Fraternity Document through the formation of the Higher Committee for Human Fraternity.
Additionally, Judge Abdelsalam recounts the crucial role that the United Arab Emirates and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the country's president, had in promoting the document that spurred inspiration around the globe. The late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who made tolerance and human fraternity a model to follow for future generations, is recognized in the author's admiration of the UAE for its efforts in promoting dialogue and coexistence and spreading these values.
In the book, His Eminence the Grand Imam said, “His Excellency Judge Abdu-Salam should be praised for his testimony because it will allow us all to remember this human legacy with all its details; otherwise, these would be forgotten forever, the case which would be a tragedy for humankind.”
Likewise, Pope Francis remarked in the book, “This book registers the significant moments in this journey, which drove us to co-sign the Human Fraternity Document on February 4th 2019 in Abu Dhabi. My dear son Muhammad Abdu-Salam was an eyewitness of the steps that had been taken and the challenges and difficulties we all faced and overcame in order to realize this great objective.”
The Council’s participation at the Cairo International Book Fair comes as part of His Eminence the Grand Imam’s vision of promoting dialogue and spreading tolerance and peace globally as well as building bridges of cooperation with people of all backgrounds. The Council’s participation at the Cairo International Book Fair is located in Hall 4 next to the Al-Azhar stand at the Egypt International Exhibition Center.