VATICAN CITY, DEC. 12, 2003 ( John Paul II appealed to believers of diverse religions to collaborate to eradicate the causes of terrorism and thus open the way to genuine peace.

The Pope made this appeal today when he received the letters of credence of Mohammed Jaham Abdulaziz Al-Kawari, the new ambassador of Qatar to the Holy See.

In his address, the Holy Father acknowledged the steps taken by the emirate of Qatar, situated on the Arabian Peninsula, in the promotion of Christian-Muslim dialogue and respect of religious freedom.

In recent months, the government has authorized the construction of churches, an unprecedented gesture in this Arab state of about 800,000 inhabitants, the great majority of whom are Muslims.

On Nov. 18, the Holy See and Qatar announced the establishment of official diplomatic relations. ZENIT has learned that the agreement made provision for the Qatari government to make plots of land available to the Catholic Church for the construction of houses of worship, according to the needs of the faithful.

"Religious freedom forms part of the most fundamental human rights because it expresses precisely the inviolable dignity of every human being in his most noble dimension: [the] relation with the Creator, and because it belongs to the freedom of conscience," the Holy Father explained in his talk.

This right "is valid for all believers of all religions," he added.

Together with the Qatari ambassador, John Paul II received the new ambassadors of Denmark, Singapore and Estonia.