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Dalai Lama Decries Rohingya Muslims Plight

GUWAHATI – The Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader has decried violence against Rohingya Muslims in the Buddhist-majority Burma, saying the suffering of those fleeing violence would have inspired Buddha to help.

“I think such circumstances Buddha would definitely help to those poor Muslims,” the Dalai Lama said, Agence France Presse (AFP) reported on Monday, September 11.

The world’s most well-known Buddhist icon said the plight of the minority group made him “very sad”.

The Dalai Lama said those who are harassing Muslims “should remember Buddha”.

Around 300,000 Rohingya have fled into Bangladesh following a security clampdown by the Burmese armed forces, prompted by Rohingya militant attacks on military outposts in late August.

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The Burmese military response has allegedly been overwhelming and indiscriminate, prompting the UN to brand it “ethnic cleansing”.

While Burmese Buddhists worship the Buddha, they follow a different religious tradition than that of Tibetans, and they do not recognize the Dalai Lama as their spiritual leader.

The Dalai Lama has also urged Aung San Suu Kyi to find a peaceful solution to the crisis in Burma.

“I appeal to you and your fellow leaders to reach out to all sections of society to try to restore friendly relations throughout the population in a spirit of peace and reconciliation,” the top Buddhist leader said in a letter to Burma’s de-facto leader seen by AFP.

The Dalai Lama also joins a number of other peace icons in calling for an end to the violence.

In particular, Nobel Prize winners Malala Yousafzai and Desmond Tutu have urged State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi to intervene.