PRAGUE - Saddened by increasing sectarian violence in Burma, Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama has sent a new outcry to Buddhist monks to stop prosecuting Burma Muslims, urging them to adhere to ‘Buddhist principles’.
"Those Burmese monks, please, when they develop some kind of anger towards Muslim brothers and sisters, please, remember the Buddhist faith," the Dalai Lama said at the annual human rights conference in the Czech capital on Tuesday, September 17, Agence France Presse (AFP) reported.
“I am sure ... that would protect those Muslim brothers and sisters who are becoming victims.”
Muslims in Burma and Sri Lanka have been facing repeated attacks by Buddhists in recent months.
Hundreds of thousands of Muslims have been forced to flee their homes in western Burma since June after attacks from Buddhist mobs on their areas.
The anti-Muslim violence spread to central Burma earlier this year, leaving scores of people dead.
The violence has displaced nearly 29,000 people, more than 97 percent of whom are Rohingya Muslims, according to the United Nations.
Many now live in camps, adding to 75,000 mostly Rohingya displaced in June 2012, after a previous explosion of sectarian violence.
A Reuters investigation found that radical Buddhist monks had been actively involved in the violence and in spreading anti-Muslim material around the country.
Last year, a number of Buddhist monks disrupted Muslim prayer services in the village of Dambulla, claiming that the mosque, built in 1962, was illegal.
Weeks later, monks drafted a threatening letter aimed at Muslims in the nearby town of Kurunegala, demanding Islamic prayer services there be halted.
The 78-year-old exiled spiritual leader, noted that there was "too much emphasis on 'we' and 'they'" in the world, and that "this century should be a century of dialogue, not wars".
On the sidelines of Prague conference, the Burmese democracy icon and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi has met the Dalai Lama, calling for ‘Constitutional changes’ to end sectarian violence in Burma.
"The ethnic problem will not be solved by this present constitution which does not meet the aspirations of the ethnic nationalities," Suu Kyi said on Tuesday, AFP reported.
“We need to amend the present constitution that we may truly become a democratic country. This constitution is anti-democratic.
"We've got to give our people a sense of security first, they must feel they have equal access to justice.
"If somebody is afraid of being attacked by people from another community, you can't expect them to sit down and talk to one another,” she added.
The Burmese icon added that draft of recommended constitutional amendments will be raised by a committee of parliamentarians by end of the year, to topple the decade-old constitution.
Last year, the Nobel laureate has declined to show support for Bengali-ethnic Muslims, Rohingyas, saying she will not use "moral leadership" to back any sides in the deadly sectarian violence between Buddhists and Muslims in the Asian country.
Equating both sides of the conflict, the Burmese icon blamed Muslims and Buddhists on inciting sectarian violence.
Sui Kyi has been under fire over being silent on the persecution on the sizable Muslim minority.
In September 2012, she came under fierce criticism after saying that she does not know whether Muslim Rohingyas are citizens of Burma or no.
Rohingya Muslims have been denied citizenship rights since an amendment to the citizenship laws in 1982 and are treated as illegal immigrants in their own home.
The Burmese government as well as the Buddhist majority refuse to recognize the term "Rohingya", referring to them as "Bengalis".
Burma is about 90 percent Buddhist and the majority are ethnically Burman, but the remaining people are a diverse group of over 100 ethnic and religious minorities.
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