Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama has condemned extremist Buddhist monks’ attacks on Rohingya Muslims in the Southeast Asian country of Myanmar.
During a speech at the University of Maryland on Tuesday, the Dalai Lama said killing in the name of religion was “unthinkable.”
“I think it is very sad,” said Dalai Lama, adding, “I pray for them (the monks) to think of the face of Buddha,” who had been a protector of Muslims.
He continued by saying that the root of seemingly sectarian conflict was political, not spiritual.
This comes as hundreds of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar are believed to have been killed and thousands others displaced in recent attacks by extremists who call themselves Buddhists.
The extremists frequently attack Rohingyas and have set fire to their homes in several villages in Rakhine. Myanmar army forces allegedly provide the fanatics containers of petrol for torching the houses of Muslim villagers, who are then forced to flee.
Meanwhile, the Myanmar government has been accused of failing to protect the Muslim minority.
About 800,000 Rohingyas in the western state of Rakhine are deprived of citizenship rights due to the policy of discrimination that has denied them the right of citizenship and made them vulnerable to acts of violence and persecution, expulsion, and displacement.
So far, the Myanmar government has refused to extricate the stateless Rohingyas from their citizenship limbo, despite international pressure to give them a legal status.
In addition, the country’s opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has come under fire for her stance on the violence. The Nobel Peace laureate has refused to censure the Myanmar military for its persecution of the Rohingyas.