Buddhist spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, shared his belief with the media that refugees should eventually return home and leave Europe to the Europeans:
“I think Europe belongs to the Europeans. … Receive them, help them, educate them … but ultimately they should develop their own country”
The Dalai Lama was in Malmo, the third largest city in Sweden, to host his conference called “The Art of Happiness and Peace”.
Sweden recently had its elections whereby the results showed a significant shift of the population toward anti-immigration sentiment. The Sweden Democrats which campaigned on the platform of anti-immigration, placed third with 17.6% of the votes.
However, the compassionate spiritual leader further explained that Europe remains “morally responsible” for extending help to refugees who were “really facing danger against their lives.”
To further elaborate on his point, the Dalai Lama cited the events involving refugees from the Middle East:
“Recently large numbers of refugees, many from the Middle East, have fled to Europe in fear for their lives. They have been given shelter and support, but the long-term solution should include providing training and education, particularly for their children, so they can return to rebuild their own countries when peace has been restored.”
The Dalai Lama’s comments were surprising considering he is a refugee himself. This was a fact that was not taken lightly and sparked anger amongst social media users.
Some have gone as far as calling him a “bigot of the first order” and a “hypocrite”.
1959, when he was chosen to be the 14th reincarnation, the Dalai Lama fled Tibet after Chinese communist takeover. He led tens of thousands of his followers and crossed the Himalayas for 15 days in order to reach India where he remains an exile.
Back in 2016, Dalia Lama expressed views in the same line. He said that there are too many refugees seeking asylum in Europe. During an interview with a German newspaper, he stated, “Europe, for example Germany, cannot become an Arab country. Germany is Germany. There are so many that in practice it becomes difficult.”
Referring to Arab refugees who fled Syria, he said “From a moral point of view, too, I think that the refugees should only be admitted temporarily.”
He also pointed out at that time that refugees deserve compassion but stressed the importance of sending them back home to help rebuild their nations.
“When we look into the face of every single refugee, especially the children and women, we can feel their suffering,” he said. “The goal should be that they return and help rebuild their countries.”