Dialogue with the so-called Islamic State group is necessary to achieving peace, the Tibetan spiritual leader said Monday. “One has to listen, to understand, to have respect for the other person, regardless. There is no other way,” the Dalai Lama said in an interview with the Italian daily La Stampa, according to the Agence France-Presse.
He said the group, aka ISIS, has harmed Islam through its intolerance but that “dialogue” is the only way forward. "Islam is a religion of peace. Those who are intolerant harm their own faith and their own brothers," he said while in Bangalore in southern India for a seminar about peace and economics.
— chidiukwu.com (@Chidiukwu_com) December 7, 2015
The Dalai Lama’s push for dialogue contrasts with a U.S.-led coalition that has vowed to destroy ISIS. U.S. President Barack Obama said Sunday evening that the U.S. would continue its airstrike campaign against the militant group, which continues to hold large swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria. The militants have been accused of executions and rapes in areas under their control, and individuals affiliated with ISIS have recently carried out a series of terrorist attacks overseas that have killed more than 500 people.
Following the attacks in Paris last month that left at least 130 people dead, the Dalia Lama condemned the group’s violence as “shortsighted.”
“We cannot solve this problem only through prayers," he said. "I am a Buddhist, and I believe in praying. But humans have created this problem, and now we are asking God to solve it. It is illogical. God would say, 'Solve it yourself because you created it in the first place.’”
— Kashish Parpiani (@kparpiani) December 7, 2015
Earlier this year, the spiritual leader said extremists have distorted the meaning of jihad, which literally translates as “struggle” in Arabic. He said it represents more an internal struggle -- an idea supported by many Muslims -- as opposed to a holy war.
"There is nothing wrong with religious beliefs, but some supporters of religions have a lack of moral principle and conviction,” he said.