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Do not accept Dalai Lama as spiritual leader: Sri Lankan anti-Muslim monk
Tuesday July 22, 2014 11:22 PM, Agencies

A hardline Sri Lankan Buddhist monk leading an anti-Muslim campaign accused the Dalai Lama on Tuesday of being influenced by Islamist extremists and said the Tibetan could not be accepted as a world Buddhist leader.

Dalai Lama

Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara, the secretary general of the Sri Lanka's hardline group Bodu Bala Sena (BBS), or "Buddhist Power Force", spoke out after the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader called on monks in Myanmar and Sri Lanka to end violence towards Muslims in their countries, news agency Reuters reported.

"Like the Pope is regarded as the leader of the Catholics, the US has made Dalai Lama the leader of the Buddhists. We do not accept this," Gnanasara said.

Gnanasara accused the 74-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner of being a victim of "Islamic extremist propoganda".

"Dalai Lama has become a victim of Muslim extremism," the nationalist Buddhist group Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) or the Forces of Buddhist Power declared.

Gnanasara, who the chief of the BBS, told reporters that Western European nations due to its Chinese opposition regard Dalai Lama as the leader of the global Buddhists.

The BBS was irked by Dalai Lama's remarks which inferred that the Muslims in Sri Lanka have come under much harassment.

"We ask him where in this country that such harassment is happening," Gnanasara stressed.

The Dalai Lama had made the remarks as a response to mid-June's anti-Muslim violence in the south western region of Beruwala which claimed four lives.

The BBS, which has been carrying out a campaign against what they have termed rising Muslim extremism in the Buddhist majority island since 2012, came under criticism for the unrest.

The BBS denied harassing the Muslim community and put it down to misreporting by the English press.

Gnanasara said the BBS had abandoned a plan to meet the Dalai Lama at Dharmasala.

"Many attempts to make Dalai Lama visit Sri Lanka had been shelved because of opposition coming from China," he said.

Meanwhile, the Muslim Coordination Committee in Leh, Ladakh described Dalai Lama as a symbol of peace and harmony for the whole world and prayed for his long life and the fulfillment of his wishes.

"We admire your work for peace and assure you that Islam denounces violence and bloodshed. Like many in the international community we support your Middle Way Approach to resolving the difficulties in Tibet. We Muslims and Buddhists of Ladakh have long lived in harmony and will continue to do so", it said.

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