'Dialogue' necessary with ISIS, says Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama gesturing as he speaks during the foundation stone laying ceremony of the Nimhans Integrated Centre for Yoga in Bangalore on Dec 7, 2015.
The Dalai Lama gesturing as he speaks during the foundation stone laying ceremony of the Nimhans Integrated Centre for Yoga in Bangalore on Dec 7, 2015. PHOTO: AFP

ROME (AFP) - The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group harms Islam through its intolerance, but "dialogue" with the extremists is vital, the Dalai Lama said in an interview reported on Monday (Dec 7) by the Italian daily La Stampa.

"Islam is a religion of peace. Those who are intolerant harm their own faith and their own brothers," the Tibetan spiritual leader was quoted as saying in Bangalore, southern India, where he took part in a seminar on peace and the economy.

Even so, "there has to be dialogue, with ISIS as well," the Dalai Lama said, in remarks reported in Italian.

Asked how this should be achieved, he replied, "Through dialogue. One has to listen, to understand, to have respect for the other person, regardless. There is no other way."

A US-led coalition and Russia have vowed to crush the ISIS, also called IS, ISIL or Daesh, which monitors say has carried out executions, abductions and rapes in areas under its control in Iraq and Syria, and conducted a wave of terror operations abroad.