On Thursday, the Dalai Lama spoke to the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France regarding the key differences between terrorists and genuine followers of religion. In short, he explained that it doesn't make rational sense to confuse Islam with terrorist organizations who claim to be Muslim such as Islamic State, Al Qaeda, and Taliban.
He argued that there is no such thing as a "Muslim terrorist" or "Buddhist terrorist," criticizing those who incite violence using a religious banner, Mic reported. He made a valid point which opposed the phrasing of "Muslim terrorist," saying that it is fundamentally against Islam as a religion to be violent.
Despite the Islamophobic rhetoric which has driven Donald Trump's presidential election campaign and violence against Muslims and their places of worship, it is well-established the vast majority of Muslims are non-violent and do not support a jihad against western society. Furthermore, terrorists claiming to be Muslim make up a teeny, tiny fraction of the 1.6 billion Muslims who live worldwide.
The Dalai Lama took this fact one step further by explaining that Islam and terrorism are completely incompatible. He said, "Any person who wants to indulge in violence is no longer a genuine Buddhist or genuine Muslim, because it is a Muslim teaching that once you are involved in bloodshed, actually you are no longer a genuine practitioner of Islam."
He continued, "All major religious traditions carry the same message: a message of love, compassion, forgiveness, tolerance, contentment, self-discipline—all religious traditions."
Banner photo credit: Reuters