Germany can't become an Arabic country, Dalai Lama says

DAILY SABAH WITH DPA
BERLIN
Published 31.05.2016 18:06
Updated 03.06.2016 11:17
Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama wipes his brow before leading a prayer session in Dharmsala, India, Monday, May 16, 2016 (AP Photo)
Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama wipes his brow before leading a prayer session in Dharmsala, India, Monday, May 16, 2016 (AP Photo)

The Dalai Lama said that Europe has accepted too many migrants and refugees in a newspaper interview published on Tuesday.

"Europe, for example Germany, cannot become an Arabic country. Germany is Germany," Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama and spiritual head of Tibetan Buddhism, told the FAZ broadsheet.

The Dalai Lama said that the surge of arrivals in Europe - around 1 million last year - has led not only to practical difficulties, but also moral ones.

"The goal should be that they return and help to rebuild their own countries," he was quoted by the newspaper as saying.

He was previously quoted as saying that Daesh terrorist organization harms Islam through its intolerance, but "dialogue" with the militants is vital.

Many of the arrivals are Muslims fleeing wars and persecution in the Middle East and Africa. Eastern European countries in particular have been reluctant to take in refugees amid fears that it may taint the countries' predominantly Christian culture.

Turkey alone has accepted over 2.7 million refugees fleeing the conflict in Syria.

But while a number of right-wing populist parties across Europe target Muslims as part of the problem - for example the Alternative for Germany, which recently enshrined its anti-Islam policy in the party manifesto - the Dalai Lama explained that Islam is a religion founded on love.

Speaking of the warring Sunni and Shiite factions in the Middle East, he said: "They do not represent the whole of Islam nor all Muslims."

The Dalai Lama has lived in exile in Dharamsala, India, since 1959. When asked whether he envisages spending the rest of his life there, the Buddhist monk said he was optimistic that he may return to Tibet "in a couple of years."

China has changed dramatically "compared to the China 30, 40 years ago," he told FAZ, adding that the once-secular country, in which the semi-autonomous region of Tibet is situated, now has the world's largest population of Buddhists.

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