Two Versions of the Dalai Lama (Part II)
by Hugh Fitzgerald
Continued fro Part I.
At the same gathering, the Dalai Lama insisted that “India is the only country where different religions have been able to co-exist.” This was a bizarre remark, but the Dalai Lama is given to strange remarks. First, could he have forgotten that all over the Western world, people of different confessions have coexisted peacefully? Or is it that he just doesn’t want to say anything in praise of the West, because that would invite comparison with how Muslim states treat non-Muslims (very badly) compared to how the non-Muslim West treats Muslims (very generously)? Second, when he speaks about “coexistence” in India, hasn’t he overlooked the centuries of Muslim conquest and Muslim rule? In all his decades in India — he has lived there since 1959 — didn’t he learn the history of India, the country that gave him refuge, about the mass murder of tens of millions of Hindus, about the virtual disappearance of Buddhism, about the forced conversion of many millions — Hindus, Jains, Buddhists, more? Has he forgotten Mahmoud of Ghazni, and Aurangzeb, and all the other murderous Muslims in India’s history? Does any of that support his claim that India is “the only country where different religions…have been able to co-exist”? Coexistence, of a kind, only became possible in India once the British had deposed the Mughal rulers, and then, since 1947, Hindus dominated — and that domination is what allowed for coexistence.
The Dalai Lama has claimed that Indian Muslims can offer lessons on Shia-Sunni harmony, as Shias feel safer in India than in Pakistan. He’s right – they do feel safer in India. But he’s wrong about the reason. It’s not that Indian Muslims can “offer lessons” on Sunni-Shia harmony to Muslims in Pakistan, which might hold out hope of lessening intra-Islamic hostilities. The sects remain just as ideologically at odds in India as in Pakistan. But the secret of tamping down the intra-Islamic violence is that the Indian government, in which Hindus predominate, can use force to suppress such intra-Islamic violence. It’s not that the Muslims in India are a different, less violent breed than their coreligionists in Pakistan, but that in India, the violence can be better held in check. In Pakistan, the Sunni government does little to reign in anti-Shi’a violence.
The next time the Dalai Lama mentioned Islam was at a gathering of his followers from 27 countries on January 31, 2015. He said that “though terrorism has emerged as a global problem,” it should not be associated with Islam, as “Muslims were neither terrorist nor its sponsorer [sic].” No one had the bad taste to remind him of the nearly 25,000 terrorist attacks (now there have been 33,500) carried out by Muslims since 9/11; no one at the meeting had the nerve to jog his memory with mention of Charlie Hebdo, Hyper Cacher, Bataclan, Magnanville, Nice, London buses and metro stations, Lee Rigby, the Atocha station in Madrid, Theo van Gogh’s murder in Amsterdam, or the attacks at Fort Hood, Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Bernardino, Chattanooga, Orlando. No reporter asked him about Muhammad’s claim that “I have been made victorious through terror.”
Like Pope Francis, who now says “equating Islam with violence is wrong” and just this past summer insisted again, astoundingly, that “all religions want peace,” the Dalai Lama is a “spiritual leader” who doesn’t want to call into conceivable question other faiths. All religions are good; no religion, rightly understood, can possibly countenance violence. Repeat ad libitum.
The Dalai Lama offers treacly pieties, insisting that no religion could possibly be responsible for any violence or aggression by its adherents. His worldview cannot accommodate the real Islam, and its violent adherents who make the news every day, so he has chosen to believe in a sanitized, even imaginary, version of the faith.
Yet the Dalai Lama has also shown, very occasionally, signs of justified worry. He has noticed that the migrants flowing into Europe have been a source of great anxiety and disruption, and this past May, in an interview with the Frankfurter Algemeiner Zeitung, he surprised many when he forthrightly said: “Europe, for example Germany, cannot [that is, must not] become an Arab country. Germany is Germany.” And “from a moral point of view too, I think the refugees should only be admitted temporarily. The goal should be that they return and help rebuild their countries.”
This seemed to be a welcome volte-face from the pollyannish pronouncements of the past. Of course, one should notice that he said Germany “cannot become an Arab country,” rather than saying that Germany “cannot become a Muslim country.” It’s as if he still couldn’t bring himself to recognize that it is the faith of Islam, and not the ethnicity of some of its Believers, that makes Muslims permanently hostile to non-Muslims, and unable to integrate into their societies, that is, into Europe. But he certainly appeared to be suggesting that the migrants, almost all of them Muslims, should not be allowed to remain and transform the countries which had so generously admitted them. Rather, those migrants should eventually be sent back to “help rebuild their countries.” It was a welcome display of common sense. He appeared to recognize the danger of letting “Arab” (Muslim) migrants stay, and that a policy of sending them home after they had acquired skills useful in rebuilding their own countries, was morally justified. Some might say — you and I, for example — that it would have been morally justified to send them right back, without that training: the Western world is not some gigantic training center, and it owes the world’s Muslims exactly nothing.
But then, in a visit to Paris in September 2016, the Dalai Lama called for entering into talks – a “dialogue”? – with the Islamic State so as to “end bloodshed in Syria and Iraq,” which showed a complete misunderstanding of the Islamic State. Its fighters are determined to carry on without letup against those it considers — not just Christians and Jews, Hindus and Buddhists, but also Shi’ites and even insufficiently-fanatical Muslims — to be Infidels. Not dialogue, but total destruction, is the only way to deal with the Islamic State. But even that will not end the threat, because the ideology on which ISIS rests cannot be destroyed, which means that new recruits to the cause, and new Islamic States, will keep appearing. The Dalai Lama’s notion of a “dialogue” with ISIS is a fantasy solution, by someone who doesn’t know what else to suggest.
In the same speech, the Dalai Lama also repeated that “religion is never a justification for killing,” when Islam – see the Qur’an, see the Hadith – overflows with justifications for the killing of insubmissive Infidels. And the Muslim killers always justify their killings, being careful to cite chapter and verse, from the Qur’an, or to adduce evidence from the life of Muhammad as recorded in the Hadith, that lend textual support to their every act.
Did the Dalai Lama see the killers of Drummer Rigby holding up their Qur’ans and quoting from it? Did he see the many leaders of the Islamic State, such as Al-Baghdadi, or propagandists for Al Qaeda, like Al-Awlaki, similarly quoting from the Qur’an to justify their attacks? Perhaps he managed to miss it all.
In August 2018, the Dalai Lama appealed to Muslims in India to make efforts to reduce Shia-Sunni conflicts that are prevalent in some other countries and asserted that Islam is a religion of peace. He lamented the bloodshed over denominational differences, which he said should be avoided as Islam teaches compassion and harmony.
The Dalai Lama has recently been speaking out about Sunni-Shi’a clashes, deploring them even as he offers no explanation as to why “peaceful” Muslims seem so often to engage in violence.
Addressing an event in August 2018 at the Goa Institute of Management, the 14th Dalai Lama stressed the need for international brotherhood and harmony.
“Muslims across the globe follow the same Quran and also pray five times a day. However, they are killing each other owing to differences between the sects like Shia and Sunni,” he said.
The Dalai Lama said, “I was in Ladakh. I suggested to Ladakhi Muslims that Indian Muslims should make some efforts to reduce the conflict between Shias and Sunnis.”
He told the audience that a national conference of Muslims would be organised in the coming months, which will be followed by a similar convention at the international level.
He said that modern India has remained by and large peaceful due to over 1000-year-old history of religious harmony.
The Dalai Lama’s claim is bizarre. Modern India did not “remain by and large peaceful” during the last 1000 years. It was the scene of bloody conquests by invading Muslims, who killed many millions, and once they had conquered and subjugated the Hindu, Jain, and Buddhist populations, they killed tens of millions more. The Indian historian K. S. Lal has written that 70-80 million non-Muslims in India were killed by Muslim armies. Tens of thousands of Hindu and Buddhist temples were destroyed. How can the Dalai Lama be unaware of this long history? After the Communist Chinese takeover of Tibet in 1959, he fled to India, where he, and tens of thousands of his followers, were given permanent refuge. Has he not, in all the decades he has lived in India, had the slightest interest in studying the history of the country that gave him refuge, and the effect of the Muslim conquests on Hindus and Buddhists? Is he unaware that Buddhism, his own religion, was virtually wiped out in India by the Muslim conquerors? Can he, the spiritual head of one branch of Buddhism, really be unaware of what happened to Buddhism in the land of its birthplace? Wasn’t he interested enough to find out?
First published in Jihad Watch.