The publication of an interview with His Holiness the Dalai Lama in the German media has led to some sensational headlines derived from an interview that included questions on the refugee crisis in Europe.
These representations, focusing on the Dalai Lama apparently warning against 'Arab domination' and Europe taking in 'too many' migrants are ultimately inconsistent with the well-known and compassionate approach of the Dalai Lama, who has been a refugee himself for more than half a century, and the longer-term perspective he seeks to convey.
Nobel Peace Prize Laureate the Dalai Lama has for decades advocated tolerance, inter-religious dialogue and has rejected the concept of a clash of civilizations, calling it "false and dangerous." It is ludicrous and clearly out of context to assert that the Dalai Lama would seriously state that Germany is at risk of becoming 'Arab' as a result of the refugee crisis.
Over the years, violent conflicts across the globe have forced a staggering 60 million people from their homes, many of whom, like the Dalai Lama, have little realistic prospect of returning home. According to the UN High Commission for Refugees, the number of refugees and internally displaced people has reached its highest point since World War II.
The Dalai Lama has consistently called on the international community to both provide assistance to those in imminent danger and need, and at the same time, to work to solve the violent conflicts and man made disasters that are the root causes of the humanitarian crisis.
As he continues to praise the countries that act responsibly and with compassion towards refugees, including Germany, the Dalai Lama has not shied from stressing that the only long-term solutions to this crisis would be to work more effectively to solve the conflicts that are forcing people to flee from their homeland. He has consistently stressed that all of us must do everything we can to restore peace to the lands these refugees are fleeing.
Every refugee yearns for the day in which he or she can go back to his or her homeland without being in danger. Helping to achieve this goal is the primary responsibility of the international community and of responsible nations.
Acknowledging this reality means in no way endorsing the idea that refugees should not be welcomed to Europe.
The Tibetan term for compassion, 'nying-je', means love, affection, warm-heartedness. But also, more importantly, it denotes a feeling of connection with others. As the Dalai Lama pointed out to The Big Issue, a newspaper for the homeless: "As a refugee myself, I naturally feel a connection to those fleeing Syria and other places due to the crisis engulfing these countries."