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Pope says interreligious dialogue crucial in war against terror

Pope John Paul II has said mutual respect for religious freedom is crucial to the health of Christian-Muslim dialogue, and will help ensure joint efforts to eliminate the causes of terrorism.

The Holy Father made his remarks on Friday to Mohamad Abdulaziz Al-Kawari, the new ambassador of Qatar to the Holy See.

He noted that Qatar, a predominantly Muslim country in the Persian Gulf, has good relations with the Catholic Church and protects Christians' right to worship.

Most of Qatar's 45,000 Christians are immigrant workers, mainly from the Philippines and India. The Christians in Qatar live in full respect of the country's laws and traditions, and in dialogue with all its peoples, especially Muslims, the pope said.

"Dialogue between nations should allow people to overcome violence and to prepare the conditions for a true peace. This dialogue is also a necessity between religions," he said.

"For my part, I am convinced that humanity's great religions should cooperate among themselves to help eliminate the social and cultural causes of terrorism, by teaching the grandeur and dignity of the human being and by favoring an increasing awareness of the unity of the human race," he added.

Interreligious dialogue can help counter terrorism, pope says (Catholic News Service 12/12/03)

Pope Appeals to Religions for Collaboration to Eradicate Terrorism (Zenit 12/12/03)
Europe cannot shed Christian identity, pope tells ambassadors (Catholic News Service 12/12/03)
Pope surveys geopolitical concerns in meeting new ambassadors (Catholic World News 12/12/03)

15 Dec 2003