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Dalai Lama urges Buddhists in Myanmar, Sri Lanka to halt violence against Muslims

Published on Jul 6, 2014 9:23 PM
 
The Dalai Lama gestures during an event to mark his 79th birthday in the Indian region of Ladakh on July 6, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP 

LEH, India (AFP) - The Dalai Lama on Sunday reiterated his plea to Buddhists in Myanmar and Sri Lanka to halt violence against Muslims, in a speech to tens of thousands of devotees to mark his 79th birthday.

In front of the massive crowd that included Hollywood film star Richard Gere in northern India, the Dalai Lama said the violence in both Buddhist-majority countries targeting religious minority Muslims was unacceptable.

"I urge the Buddhists in these countries to imagine an image of Buddha before they commit such a crime," Tibet's exiled spiritual leader said on the outskirts of Leh, high in the Himalayas. "Buddha preaches love and compassion. If the Buddha is there, he will protect the Muslims whom the Buddhists are attacking," the leader, who fled Tibet for India in 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese rule, said.

The Dalai Lama also expressed shock at a wave of deadly violence by Sunni militants against fellow Muslims, although he did not refer specifically to Iraq, where such militants have overrun swathes of five provinces north and west of Baghdad.

 
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