Dalai Lama: Politics, Religion Equal Violence

February 17th 2006

Jerusalem, 16 February 2006 (Ynet News) - Tibetan Diaspora leader arrives in Israel, says he hopes to advance dialogue, human warmth in area of conflict.
Describing the purpose of his visit as bringing harmony to the area, he said he did not come to talk about the situation of Tibet.
During a press conference, the Dalai Lama said the purpose of his visit was to advance humane values and warmth, as well as dialogue instead of violence, as a necessary condition for peace. 
But the harmony was pushed aside when the Tibetan leader was immediately thrown into the cold waters of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and asked whether Israel should conduct negotiations with Hamas.
The Dalai Lama described the question as obstructive, adding that it was too early to answer it. He quickly added that the Hamas won the majority, and that democratic elections must be respected. Addressing Hamas, he added that it's best to talk, saying he wanted to enjoin them into that belief.
The Tibetan leader said that if, during his visit in Bethlehem, Hamas members would want to meet him, he would gladly oblige.
In the course of the conference, the Dalai was asked to speak about global Islamic terrorism, the crisis over cartoons of Islam's prophet Muhammad, and the wave of rage which followed them.
'Don't blame the prophet Muhammad'
The prophet Muhammad should not be blamed for the violence, said the Dalai Lama, adding that the problem is the lack of separation between politics and religion, a situation which creates violence because emotion is involved.
We must tell the whole world to talk and not to respond immediately. I have Muslim friends and they told me that anyone who calls themselves Muslim while causing blood to be spilled is not Muslim, he said.
The Dalai Lama pointed out the difference between Muslims and the policies of Muslim countries, and emphasized that as a Tibetan leader, he and his people differentiate between the Chinese people and the Chinese government.

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