Dalai Lama calls for greater religious tolerance

May 18th, 2008 - 7:31 pm ICT by admin  


Nuremberg (Germany), May 18 (DPA) The Dalai Lama called Sunday for greater tolerance between the world’s major religions. Religion has too often been at the root of conflicts, violence and bloodshed, the Tibetan spiritual leader told a gathering of 7,000 people in the southern German city of Nuremberg.

He said the goal of all religions was to serve people and strengthen values such as love, tolerance and modesty. That was why he saw it as his duty to promote religious harmony.

The basis for adhering to human rights was a greater sympathy for the fate of other people, the 72-year-old Nobel peace laureate said on the fourth day of his visit to Germany.

From Nuremberg, the Dalai Lama travels to Berlin Monday where he is scheduled to address a pro-Tibet rally and meet Development Aid Minister Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul.

That meeting has reportedly triggered tension between Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has been supportive to the Dalai Lama, and the ranking Social Democrat in her government, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who does not want to upset China.

Merkel said several weeks ago she was not meeting the Dalai Lama because she would be abroad at the time. A meeting she had with the Tibetan leader last September sparked a diplomatic spat with Beijing.

Junhui Zhang, a counsellor at the Chinese embassy in Berlin, attacked the Buddhist leader in an interview published Saturday.

He said the Dalai Lama’s call for “true autonomy” was a covert demand for independence, the Frankfurter Rundschau daily reported.

The exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, who has said he does not seek independence from China, was set to address supporters for 15 minutes Monday at the capital’s landmark Brandenburg Gate.

City police said several groups had served notice of protests against his visit, but no violence was expected.

Chinese communist forces invaded Tibet in 1950. Since 1959, when the Tibetan resistance movement collapsed, the Dalai Lama has lived in India, where the Tibetan government-in-exile is based.

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