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Dialogue is the only way to deal with the irreligious hatred of Islamic State, says the Dalai Lama

The Buddhist spiritual leader also said Europe should educate for the children of hundreds of thousands of refugees, mainly from the war-torn Middle East, to help them go home rebuild their countries.

Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama wears a towel on his head to cool off during a press conference in Paris today.
Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama wears a towel on his head to cool off during a press conference in Paris today.
Image: Thibault Camus/PA

THE DALAI LAMA says there should be dialogue with Islamic State extremists to end bloodshed in Syria and Iraq, and argues that religion is never a justification for killing.

The Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader, speaking today in Paris, said dialogue “is the only way,” but didn’t elaborate on how it should take place or with whom.

He insisted that Islam should never be conflated with terrorism.

“A genuine practitioner of Islam must respect others’ lives,” he said.

He added that someone who kills in the name of Islam or Buddhism “is no longer a Muslim, or a Buddhist”.

He urged the Europe to take in refugees, such as those fleeing Syria’s war, but said western governments should also work toward ending the war so refugees can go home.

A refugee himself

The Dalai Lama himself fled Tibet in 1959 and has lived in India for decades, effectively as a refugee.

He is labelled a separatist by Communist China, which invaded and annexed Tibet in 1959 has colonised the region ever since.

The Dalai Lama slammed Chinese censorship as “immoral” but said he’s optimistic that China will eventually relax restrictions and open up more.

France Dalai Lama Dalai Lama offers a sweet to a onlooker during today's press conference. Source: AP/Press Association Images

He is on a week-long visit to France for conferences on the environment, spirituality, secular ethics and preserving Tibetan language and culture.

Return and rebuild

While he said he would meet with French President Francois Hollande, Hollande’s office said no meeting was planned.

China has frequently imposed diplomatic and economic punishments on countries whose leaders meet with the Dalai Lama, but the Buddhist leader is painstaking in his refusal to respond with anger.

Middle East

The Buddhist spiritual leader also urged Europe to emphasise education for the hundreds of thousands of refugees that have arrived mainly from the war-torn Middle East as a means of rebuilding their home countries.

“Provide them education, particularly for children,” he told AFP.

Then… eventually these refugees return (to) their own land and rebuild their own countries.

The 81-year-old Buddhist monk appealed to “the real spirit of the European Union”, urging the bloc to “consider the importance of the common interest” in dealing with the refugee crisis.

France Dalai Lama The Buddhist leader shakes hands with journalists at the end of the press conference. Source: Thibault Camus

Killing

More than one million refugees and migrants have entered Europe over the past year, largely fleeing conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

The 1989 Nobel Peace Prize laureate lamented the “terrible situations” they fled, saying:

Too much killing! And these innocent children; old people, I think, suffered a lot.

The Dalai Lama, who is making his first visit to France in five years, will travel to Strasbourg before he leaves on Sunday.

With reporting from © AFP, 2016 and Darragh Peter Murphy.

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