Dalai Lama: There is no such thing as a Muslim terrorist

'Any person who wants to indulge in violence is no longer a genuine Buddhist or genuine Muslim,' says Tibet's exiled spiritual leader

Maya Oppenheim
Monday 19 September 2016 17:02 BST
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He argued that differentiating fundamentalism from Islam itself was a key way to stop violence and strengthen integration
He argued that differentiating fundamentalism from Islam itself was a key way to stop violence and strengthen integration ( OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Image)

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Louise Thomas

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The Dalai Lama has said there is no such thing as a “Muslim terrorist” as anyone who partakes in violent activities is not a “genuine” Muslim.

Speaking at the European Parliament in Strasbourg in France at the end of last week, Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader suggested the phrase was a contradiction in terms and condemned those who commit violent acts in the name of religion.

The Dalai Lama asserted that all religions were united by the values of love, compassion, tolerance and more. He argued that with this common ground the world would be able to build peace.

“Buddhist terrorist. Muslim terrorist. That wording is wrong,” he said. “Any person who wants to indulge in violence is no longer a genuine Buddhist or genuine Muslim, because it is a Muslim teaching that once you are involved in bloodshed, actually you are no longer a genuine practitioner of Islam.”

“All major religious traditions carry the same message: a message of love, compassion, forgiveness, tolerance, contentment, self-discipline - all religious traditions”.

He argued that differentiating between fundamentalism and Islam was a key way to stop violence and strengthen integration: “On that level, we can build a genuine harmony, on the basis of mutual respect, mutual learning, mutual admiration".

The 14th Dalai Lama, whose name is Tenzin Gyatso, has recently finished teaching a course about ethics beyond religion in Strasbourg.

China considers the Dalai Lama as a separatist and he continues to live in exile after leaving for India in the midst of the Tibetan uprising of 1959. He is in favour of meaningful autonomy for Tibet in the context of the People's Republic of China and proposes a 'middle-way' between autonomy and independence to peacefully resolve the issue.

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