The Dalai Lama is certainly an influential religious leader in the world but usually he stays away from controversial comments, especially when it comes to other religions.
But on Saturday the holy man decided it was high-time to speak out against violence perpetrated in the name of religion and God, in this case using the Muslim precedent of “Jihad” or holy war which, he says is being misinterpreted and misused by extremist Islam.
The Dalai Lama, who is also a nobel Peace prize winner, was referring specifically to the current atrocities being carried out by ISIS in Syria and Iraq, “In the name of Allah” and the “Religion of Peace.”
AFP reported that, speaking at a meeting of India’s religious leaders in Saturday, including a senior Muslim cleric, the Roman Catholic archbishop of Bombay and the head of the Jewish community in Delhi at a two-day conference, the Dalai Lama said, “Killing in the name of faith is unacceptable.”
He raised the issue of “Jihad,” the arabic word or concept for “holy war,” a concept which, like most things is subject to interpretation with the more extreme streams of Islam claiming that it means literally killing and torturing people who are not Muslim.
The Daily Mail reported that at the meeting over the weekend the Dalai Lama said that in his opinion holy war should be a struggle “to combat our inner destructive emotions, it (jihad) does not mean harming other people.”
And while that statement makes a lot of sense to many people in the west, it isn’t really the reality on the ground as an expert on Islam, Professor Rafi Israeli, told reporters that, in his opinion, “cruelty is a part of Islam,” arguing that the religion has a basic disregard for human life.
He noted excerpts from the Koran that call on Muslims globally to spread terror among their enemies without specifying who precisely those enemies are.
The Dalai Lama added that, “if we remain indifferent to what is happening around us, it is wrong. The spiritual people can show the world that it can be a happy family (despite) the different faiths.”