Foreign Policy Blogs

The Dalai Lama Defends Islam and Tells Americans Like It Is

On Sunday, July 13, the Dalai Lama gave a public talk at Lehigh University as part of a "series of teachings," which takes place from July 10-15. The public talk, held yesterday (on the topic of "Generating a Good Heart"), also allowed the Dalai Lama to answer questions from the audience, which had been earlier submitted in writing. The Associated Press apparently picked up on the talk because the Dalai Lama answered a question about Islam and then defended it as a peaceful religion. According to the AP, the Dalai Lama said that "it's totally wrong, unfair" to call Islam a violent religion. Does this make the Dalai Lama's discussion newsworthy , and why does the AP headline read: "Dalai Lama Defends Islam as Peaceful Religion"? How many people must say publicly that Islam is a non-violent religion before it stops making headlines and we assume it as fact. More interesting for this blogger is that the Dalai Lama also took a question on why so many Americans are depressed and anxious. Other than joking that he's the wrong person to ask because he's not an American, he said that the U.S. is too competitive and people always want "something more, something more, something more." The Associated Press headline should have alerted Americans to the answers behind depression, not the clear reality that Islam (just as all the major religions) are based on peace. Otherwise, no comments were made about the Olympics.



Karin Esposito

Karin Esposito is blogging on religion and politics from her base in Central Asia. Currently, she is the Project Manager for the Tajikistan Dialogue Project in Dushanbe. The Project is run through the Geneva Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies with the support of PDIV of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. The aim of the project is to establish practical mechanisms for co-existence and peaceful conflict resolution between Islamic and secular representatives in Tajikistan. After receiving a Juris Doctorate from Boston University School of Law in 2007, she worked in Tajikistan for the Bureau of Human Rights and later as a Visting Professor of Politics and Law at the Kazakhstan Institute of Management, Economics, and Strategic Research (KIMEP). Ms. Esposito also holds a Master's in Contemporary Iranian Politics (2007) from the School of International Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Iran and a Master's in International Relations (2003) from the Geneva Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (GIIDS) in Switzerland.

Areas of Focus:
Islam; Christianity; Secularism;