CAIRO - The Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of the Tibet, has called for not judging Islam from the practices of some individuals, calling for promoting harmony between followers of different religions, The Daily Press reported Thursday, October 11.
"Because of one act by one group of people, to characterize the whole Muslim religion as bad is totally wrong," the Buddhist monk told a lecture at the College of William and Mary in Virginia, during a tour in the United States.
The Tibetan leader, who lives in exile in India, said every religion has its own mischievous people.
"Due to some mischievous action or destructive action carried out by some mischievous Muslims, due to that, to generalize the whole of Islam as something negative is totally unfair, unjust.
Islam has often been stereotyped in the West since the 9/11 attacks by Al-Qaeda militants on the United States.
Muslim religious leaders have repeatedly distanced their religion from violent acts by some individuals.
This is not the first time The Dalai Lama speaks in the defense of Islam against the Western stereotypes of the religion.
In 2010, the Nobel laureate described Islam as a great, often misunderstood religion, calling for not stereotyping it for the ill doings of those who do not represent the peaceful faith.
He also said that the Islamic concept of Jihad has been widely misunderstood and that Islam is a religion of compassion.
The Buddhist spiritual leader called for promoting harmony between followers of different religions.
"We need more effort to reach out to other faiths," the Dalai Lama said.
He said compassion unites all people, regardless of their religion.
There's too much emphasis on the secondary level of differences in religion, differences in race, in color, in nationality. If I say Buddhism is better, my attitude creates a barrier, he said.
"Nobody wants problems. Even those able to handle problems.
"We have to find a new way of thinking, new approaches to problems. We must study the reality, he said.
We're the same. We're born the same. We die the same. Our reproduction is the same."
The Dalai Lama's speech comes amid tension between Muslims and Buddhists over the persecution of Rohingya Muslims in Burma.
Thousands of Rohingya Muslims fled their homes in June after ethnic tensions rocked the western state of Rakhine after an attack on a bus carrying Muslim pilgrims.
Rights groups say Rohingya Muslims bore the brunt of a government crackdown to halt the violence.
Human Rights Watch has accused Burmese security forces of targeting Rohingya Muslims with killing, rape and arrest following the unrest.
Buddhist monks were accused by rights activists of fueling hatred against Rohingya Muslims in the country.Religious tension also grew in neighboring Bangladesh after a Buddhist posted a photo of a burnt Qur'an on the Facebook, sending angry Muslims on rampage to attack Buddhist house and temples.