The Dalai Lama is known throughout the world not only as the exiled spiritual leader of Tibet but also as a moral authority. He was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal by George W. Bush, and Barack Obama met with the Buddhist monk on several occasions throughout his presidency. However, in a new interview with BBC News, the spiritual superstar is getting some heat for some controversial comments relating to Europe’s migrant crisis.
Since 2015, millions of migrants from Middle Eastern countries, like Syria and Iraq, in addition to migrants from Northern African countries like Nigeria and Eritrea, have sought refuge or economic opportunity in Europe. The policy has sparked fierce debate in European politics and has helped spur the rise of many far-right parties.
In the interview, the Dalai Lama said that while migrants should benefit from gaining “skills” while in Europe, they should return to their homelands.
“European countries should take these refugees and give them education and training, and the aim is return to their own land with certain skills,” he said.
The idea is not a new one, and many politicians have worried about increasing global inequality due to “brain drain,” i.e., the emigration of intelligent, motivated, or wealthier people to a more developed nation, leaving the home country even worse off.
The Dalai Lama continued to state that only a “limited” number of migrants should be allowed to stay, as he did not want Europe to become a “Muslim” or “African” country.
“A limited number is OK, but the whole of Europe [will] eventually become Muslim country, African country – impossible.”
This was not the first time that the spiritual leader had made such remarks. As previously reported by The Inquisitr, the Dalai Lama was slammed last year after he made remarks at an event in Sweden that were seen as bigoted.
“Receive them [migrants], help them, educate them, but ultimately they should develop their own country,” he said.
“I think Europe belongs to the Europeans.”
The Dalai Lama concluded with the note that he believed there were “too many refugees” in Europe. The remarks were particularly contentious because of the location. The speech took place in Malmö, the third-largest city in Sweden and home to a large number of migrants. In fact, nearly a third of residents were born outside of the Scandinavian country.
The Dalai Lama himself is a refugee, having fled from Tibet after the 1959 Tibetan uprising. The monk resorted to settling in the northern Indian province of Dharamsala. Though India granted him asylum, the government has since distanced themselves from the monk due to their relationship with China.