Dalai Lama urges Buddhists to halt violence against Muslims

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Updated 07 July 2014

Dalai Lama urges Buddhists to halt violence against Muslims

LEH, India: The Dalai Lama Sunday reiterated his plea to Buddhists in Myanmar and Sri Lanka to halt violence against Muslims, in a speech to tens of thousands of devotees to mark his 79th birthday.
In front of the massive crowd that included Hollywood film star Richard Gere in northern India, the Dalai Lama said the violence in both Buddhist-majority countries targeting religious minority Muslims was unacceptable.
“I urge the Buddhists in these countries to imagine an image of Buddha before they commit such a crime,” Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader said on the outskirts of Leh, high in the Himalayas.
“Buddha preaches love and compassion. If the Buddha is there, he will protect the Muslims whom the Buddhists are attacking,” the leader, who fled Tibet for India in 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese rule, said.
The Dalai Lama also expressed shock at a wave of deadly violence by Sunni militants against fellow Muslims, although he did not refer specifically to Iraq, where such militants have overrun swathes of five provinces north and west of Baghdad.
Gere greeted the Dalai Lama on stage, shaking his hand and praising the leader on behalf of several thousand foreign devotees who had gathered for the speech.
Inter-communal violence in Myanmar has overshadowed widely-praised political reforms since erupting in 2012. It has largely targeted Muslims, leaving at least 250 people dead.
Last month in Sri Lanka, four people were killed and hundreds of shops and homes damaged in the island’s worst religious violence in recent decades.
The Dalai Lama celebrated his birthday at his residence on the outskirts of Leh in Ladakh, a mainly Buddhist region.
He was in Ladakh to confer Kalachakra, a Buddhist process that empowers tens of thousands of his disciples to attain enlightenment.
Two years ago, the Nobel Peace Prize winner announced that he was retiring from political duties and upgraded the role of prime minister of the Tibetan exile community.
He devolved power in an attempt to lessen his own totemic status and secure the movement’s future after his death.
But he is still the most powerful rallying point for Tibetans, both in exile and in their homeland, and remains the universally recognized face of the movement.
The leader supports “meaningful autonomy” for Tibet within China rather than outright independence. But China accuses the Dalai Lama of covertly campaigning for Tibet’s independence, and calls him a “splittist.”


France checks video claim for Paris knife attack

Updated 12 min 10 sec ago

France checks video claim for Paris knife attack

  • Friday’s attack left two badly wounded outside Charlie Hebdo’s former offices in Paris
  • Six people are still in custody, including the suspected perpetrator

PARIS: French investigators were Sunday studying a video claiming responsibility for the meat cleaver attack in Paris that targeted satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo as the government condemned an act of “Islamist terrorism.”
Six people were still in custody, including the suspected perpetrator of Friday’s attack that left two badly wounded outside Charlie Hebdo’s former offices in Paris.
The man is an 18-year-old born in Pakistan named as Hassan A, according to a source close to the investigation.
Held since Friday, he told investigators he had carried out the attack to avenge the republication of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad by Charlie Hebdo, which was the target of a January 2015 massacre by Islamist gunmen.
The investigators were now seeking to authenticate a video which they believe could show Hassan A. announcing he was about to carry out the attack.
“We see him crying, chanting. He claims in advance his act by evoking the republication of the caricatures,” said the source, who asked not to be named.
“It is a kind of manifesto, he announces he is going to act,” the source said, adding: “It is not a claim of allegiance to an organization.”
The suspect was born in the Pakistan town of Mandi Bahauddin and while he speaks a little French he has needed a translator during questioning, the source close to the investigation said.
He is believed to have entered France three years ago while still a minor and had showed no risk of radicalization despite once being stopped for carrying a weapon.
The two people wounded were employees of prize-winning TV production agency Premieres Lignes, whose offices are in the same block that used to house Charlie Hebdo in the center of the capital .
However it is not believed that the two, whose lives are not in danger, were specifically targeted.
The man mistakenly believed Charlie Hebdo’s offices were still in that building and wanted to attack journalists from the magazine, according to his statement to investigators.
One person arrested was released overnight. But as well as the main suspect eight others were still being held.
They include his younger brother and people who lived with him at his last place of residence in northern Paris.
Police on Sunday also detained a woman who had been living at the same residence, a judicial source said, without giving further details.
The arrests were aimed at understanding the “environment” of the main suspect, a source close to the case said, adding: “Everything leads us to think he acted alone.”
An Algerian man, detained close to the scene of the attack, had also been released. His lawyer said her client had actually been “heroically” chasing the attacker.
The attack came three weeks into a trial in Paris of suspected accomplices in the January 2015 attacks on Charlie Hebdo, a policewoman and a Jewish supermarket that left 17 people dead.
The bloodshed heralded a wave of Islamist violence in France that has so far left 258 people dead.
Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin acknowledged that the authorities could have become complacent over the terror risk after a relative lull in high-profile attacks in recent years.
“We are in an extremely critical situation, we are at war with Islamist terrorism. Maybe, collectively, we put this behind us,” he said.
Darmanin said the threat was still real, noting 32 attacks had been foiled over the last three years. “It is around once a month,” he said.
President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist government has in recent weeks begun using increasingly tough rhetoric on domestic security issues in what analysts see as a shift to the right.
Macron’s anti-terror adviser Laurent Nunez told AFP that France had “improved in the detection” of extremists but “still had to tighten the net more.”