Editor’s Note: The Dalai Lama urges Buddhists not to harm Muslims. If they are peacefully practicing their religion, then he made the right call. Persecution of the innocent only leads to further violence.
Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama has made a renewed call for Buddhists in Myanmar and Sri Lanka to cease violence towards the countries’ Muslim minorities, in an address delivered on his 79th birthday.
Speaking before tens of thousands of Buddhists, including Hollywood actor Richard Gere, the exiled Buddhist leader implored the faithful in the majority-Buddhist countries to refrain from such attacks.
“I urge the Buddhists in these countries to imagine an image of Buddha before they commit such a crime,” he said in the Indian town of Leh.
“Buddha preaches love and compassion. If the Buddha is there, he will protect the Muslims whom the Buddhists are attacking.”
Rising Buddhist nationalism in both countries, spearheaded by movements led by extremist monks, has led to communal violence targeting Muslims in recent years.
In Myanmar, religious violence has left more than 200 dead and close to 150,000 homeless — predominantly members of the Rohingya Muslim minority, since unrest broke out in in the western state of Rakhine in June 2012.