Dalai Lama’s call


Citing a passing reference to Sri Lanka by the Dalai Lama in the address to the devotees on his 79th birthday in Ladakh on 06th July 2014, has led certain international media to report that he had called on the Buddhists in Sri Lanka to cease violence towards the Muslim minority of the country.

The Dalai Lama’s speech does not specifically mention that there is violence against the Muslim minority in Sri Lanka, but stresses the importance of religious co-existence and tolerance in general. These news reports,by using the content of his speech misleadingly, have endeavoured to portray Sri Lanka as a country where the Muslim community is under constant threat by the Buddhists.

These news reports are a testimony to the course of action undertaken by certain parties with vested interests to erroneously portray the recent incidents that occurred in Aluthgama, as a systemic problem of the Sri Lankan polity in which religious intolerance is deep- rooted.However, those events were in fact an isolated law and order incident, where violence erupted between a few individuals of the two faiths at an initial stage of misunderstanding.

Religious pluralism is fully integrated in Sri Lankan society, where people of different faiths have been co-existing for over two millennia, whereas in many other countries the clash of faiths have been in existence from time immemorial. In Sri Lanka, the Buddhist majority have consistently tolerated other faiths in keeping with the teachings of the Buddha. The occasional disruptions to the peaceful co-existence of religious faiths have been triggered by the actions of a small number of individuals. Erudite persons should not fall prey to misplaced agendas of the media. 

It would be appreciated if my views could be published in your media as it would contribute towards interfaith harmony.

Rizvi Hakeem

Islamic Interfaith Movement

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