BANGALORE — Here in the Indian capital of global call centers, the Dalai Lama was the feature guest at the Arab-Asian Chamber of Commerce" Peace for Economy conference. In an interview with La Stampa on the sidelines of the conference, the highest authority of Tibetan Buddhism extended an olive branch to the West's current Enemy No. 1: ISIS, the Islamic State terror network. Beyond the immediate priority of ending violence, the Dalai Lama said economic development that respects people and the environment is a powerful antidote to religious fundamentalism.
LA STAMPA: Your Holiness, you have said that your enemy is defeated when he becomes your friend.
DALAI LAMA: True! So true!
Can you explain how to become friends with ISIS?
Through dialogue. We have to listen, understand and have respect for others. There is no other way.
But how can we deal with ISIS" barbarism?
We must deal with our heart. Be compassionate and educate. Germany has been very generous by accepting refugees, feeding them and clothing them, but now it's time to give them an education.
Giving them an education so that they can they be assimilated in Europe?
So that they they can go back home. If not them, then their children. They have to return with the knowledge and skills to change their home country, so that there are no other refugees. This is the only solution.
Europe is also afraid of peaceful Islam. It fears losing its core values of freedom, equality and gender parity. It doesn't accept Islamic Sharia law, which might one day be democratically applied.
Every man has his own religion and truth, but in a community there must be many religions and many truths. Islam is a religion of peace. Intolerant people harm their own beliefs and their own brothers.
I beg your pardon, but religions rarely bring peace. They more often provoke wars, death and misery.
One day, God will meet with spiritual leaders and ask them, "Why have you fought? I did not ask you to do this."
God will ask one day, but what about today? Your Holiness, you said that praying is not enough.
You do not need to pray! God might answer, "Why do you pray me to stop evil? I haven't done this. You're the one doing this, so you have to fix it."
In India, a few kilometers from the capital New Delhi, a Muslim was killed by Hindu fanatics on suspicion of storing cow meat in the refrigerator.
Human life is more precious than a sacred animal.
In Myanmar, Buddhists are persecuting Muslims.
I have no contacts with them, but no one should persecute anyone. Each of us is responsible for universal harmony.