Dalai Lama: Humans Created Terrorism, So Stop Praying To God For A Solution


Prayer alone will not be enough to stem terrorist attacks like the shootings and bombings last week that devastated Paris and shocked the world, the Dalai Lama said.

The Buddhist spiritual leader from Tibet said in an interview with German media outlet Deutsche Welle on Monday that terrorism is a problem caused by humans and, thus, must be fixed by mankind without God’s intervention.

“People want to lead peaceful lives. The terrorists are short-sighted, and this is one of the causes of rampant suicide bombings. We cannot solve this problem only through prayers,” the Dalai Lama said as part of a response to a question about how he viewed the attacks.

“I am a Buddhist and I believe in praying. But humans have created this problem, and now we are asking God to solve it,” the Nobel Peace Prize winner said. “It is illogical. God would say, solve it yourself because you created it in the first place.”

Other religious leaders, like Pope Francis, have encouraged followers to join him in prayer after Friday’s series of shootings and bombings that killed at least 129 people and injured more than 300.

It would also be unwise to expect politicians to devise solutions too, the Dalai Lama said.

“So let us work for peace within our families and society, and not expect help from God, Buddha or the governments,” he said.

Though the conflict between Western secular countries and radicalized Islamist terrorists is often depicted as a clash of civilizations with irreconcilable differences, the Dalai Lama said the struggle is not nearly as stark.

“The problems that we are facing today are the result of superficial differences over religious faiths and nationalities. We are one people.”

The Dalai Lama’s comments echo remarks he made in New York on his first visit to the city after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

During that trip, The New York Times reported that he said “compassion, dialogue — peaceful means” are the “real antidote” to terrorism.

“‘Terrorism comes out of hatred, and also short-sightedness,” he said.


Armed protesters stalk peaceful Muslims at Texas mosque: We want to show force


A group of armed protesters who wanted to “show force” gathered outside a Texas mosque Saturday in response rumors about Syrian refugees and Sharia law.

The group, calling itself the Bureau of American Islamic Relations, stationed itself outside the Islamic Center of Irving carrying signs with messages like, “Stop the Islamization of America,” according to the Dallas Morning News. A video taken at the mosque shows a man dressed in black with his face masked carrying a rifle.

The group’s leader told the News they were upset because they had heard rumors of a Sharia court at the mosque and the prospect of letting Syrian refugees in. They also claimed members of the local Muslim community had made death threats against Irving’s mayor, Beth Van Duyne, earlier this year. The News found no evidence that this claim was true.

When asked by the News why his group was armed, organizer David Wright said the weapons were “mostly for self protection,” but then added, “But I’m not going to lie. We do want to show force. We’re not sitting ducks.”

He then added,“We don’t want people to think we’re out to kill people or shoot people. It would be ridiculous to protest Islam without defending ourselves.”

The town of Irving gained notoriety earlier this year when police arrested a Muslim school boy who had made a clock at home and brought it to school, accusing him of making a “hoax bomb.”

Van Duyne made a name for herself by fighting against a non-existent threat that Muslims were bringing Sharia law to Irving.

“Recently, there have been rumors suggesting that the City of Irving has somehow condoned, approved or enacted the implementation of a Sharia Law Court in our City. Let me be clear, neither the City of Irving, our elected officials or city staff have anything to do with the decision of the mosque that has been identified as starting a Sharia Court,” Van Duyne had written in a Facebook post that was publicized by Fox News and Glenn Beck.

The News reports that police were present and worshippers were instructed by mosque leaders not to interact with the group.

A video of the armed group was posted to Twitter, as seen here:


In nations with significant Muslim populations, much disdain for ISIS

Recent attacks in Paris, Beirut and Baghdad linked to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) have once again brought terrorismview-of-isis and Islamic extremism to the forefront of international relations. According to newly released data that the Pew Research Center collected in 11 countries with significant Muslim populations, people from Nigeria to Jordan to Indonesia overwhelmingly expressed negative views of ISIS.

One exception was Pakistan, where a majority offered no definite opinion of ISIS. The nationally representative surveys were conducted as part of the Pew Research Center’s annual global poll in April and May this year.

In no country surveyed did more than 15% of the population show favorable attitudes toward Islamic State. And in those countries with mixed religious and ethnic populations, negative views of ISIS cut across these lines.

In Lebanon, a victim of one of the most recent attacks, almost every person surveyed who gave an opinion had an unfavorable view of ISIS, including 99% with a very unfavorable opinion. Distaste toward ISIS was shared by Lebanese Sunni Muslims (98% unfavorable) and 100% of Shia Muslims and Lebanese Christians.

Israelis (97%) and Jordanians (94%) were also strongly opposed to ISIS as of spring 2015, including 91% of Israeli Arabs. And 84% in the Palestinian territories had a negative view of ISIS, both in the Gaza Strip (92%) and the West Bank (79%). 

Six-in-ten or more had unfavorable opinions of ISIS in a diverse group of nations, including Indonesia, Turkey, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Malaysia and Senegal.

In Nigeria, there was somewhat more support for ISIS (14% favorable) compared with other countries, but attitudes differed statssharply by religious affiliation. An overwhelming number of Nigerian Christians (71%) had an unfavorable view of ISIS, as did 61% of Nigerian Muslims. However, 20% of Nigerian Muslims had a favorable view of ISIS when the poll was conducted in the spring of this year. The group Boko Haram in Nigeria, which has been conducting a terrorist campaign in the country for years, is affiliated with ISIS, though the two are considered separate entities.

Only 28% in Pakistan had an unfavorable view of ISIS, and a majority of Pakistanis (62%) had no opinion on the extremist group.

While we did not ask people in Western nations about their views of ISIS, half or more of people in 15 mostly Western countries said they were very concerned about ISIS as an international threat. In France, the target of multiple coordinated attacks in Paris last week, 71% said before the attacks that they were very concerned about the ISIS threat. Similar shares of the public in other nations also expressed serious concern, including 77% of Spanish, 70% of Germans, 69% of Italians and 68% of Americans. In Lebanon and Jordan, nations that are taking in refugees from the ISIS conflict in Syria and whose people have been victims of mass terrorist incidents, 84% and 62% also said they were very concerned about the group.

General concern about Islamic extremism has been growing in many Western and predominantly Muslim nations surveyed since earlier in the decade. And as a reaction to this threat, there was widespread support for U.S. military actions against ISIS in Iraq and Syria from most of the countries surveyed in the spring, including majorities in Israel (84%), France (81%), the U.S. (80%), Lebanon (78%), Jordan (77%), the UK (66%) and Germany (62%).



November 16, 2015

NEW YORK — Following the attacks in Paris, some U.S. governors and federal lawmakers have moved to restrict the planned resettlement of Syrian refugees to the United States.

Cecillia Wang, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, said:

“Some politicians have attempted to fabricate a link between the tragedy in Paris and the resettlement of Syrian refugees to the United States. Making policy based on this fear mongering is wrong for two reasons. It is factually wrong for blaming refugees for the very terror they are fleeing, and it is legally wrong because it violates our laws and the values on which our country was founded.”


Yep, Even Condoleezza Rice: The U.S. Should Accept Syrian Refugees


Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in Birmingham this morning said she hopes America can remain “open and welcoming” to refugees fleeing violence in the world, including Syria.

But Rice also quickly acknowledged that governors and law enforcement officials across the country have to weigh concerns for the security of the citizens they are charged with protecting with the needs of refugees for safe harbor, especially when there are concerns that terrorists could hide among them.

“I fundamentally understand that you in a position of authority, like you governor and others, in addition to having compassion for others you have to be safety conscious for your people,” said Rice as she looked and nodded to Gov. Robert Bentley sitting just a few feet to her left.

Rice and Bentley appeared together this morning at a large gathering of business and governmental leaders in town as part of weekend meetings of SEUS Japan 38, an annual conference that draws leaders from Japan and the Southeastern U.S.

This morning’s gathering was at the Alabama Theatre.

Bentley late Sunday night announced that he will refuse to accept into Alabama Syrian refuges who are fleeing for their lives from the on-going violence in Syria.

In making the decision to resist the refugees Bentley said reports that some of the terrorists who attacked and killed over 100 people in Paris Friday were able to gain entrance into France by hiding among Syrian refugees convinced him he could not allow the refugees into Alabama.

Rice, a native of Birmingham, did not criticize President Barack Obama’s decision to accept some Syrian refugees into the country.

Rice said America has a long history of accepting refugees fleeing war and terror.

“What the United States has done is to be open to people who are fleeing tyranny, who are fleeing danger, but we have done it in a very careful way that has worked for us,” said Rice, who added that during her time as secretary of state (four years) the country accepted maybe 67,000 refugees.

Rice said America has avoided packing refugees into large camps over the years and instead have sported a system that relocates refuges into communities across the nation who have in turned worked with non-profits and churches to help refugees settle.

“Generally under those circumstances we have been able to manage the flow but that has been 75,000 people a year at its height. But now we are facing hundreds of thousands.”

Rice said she hopes that the system for taking in refugees the country has used for years will be allowed time to work.

“I think we are going to have to vet

very carefully, “We will have to relocate people instead of keeping them in camps which turns out to be a disaster.”

Rice said America must work more closely with European nations which are experiencing the brunt of the refugee flow and that eventually the U.S. and other nations must create a safe place for the refugees to go to. She suggested a possible location as between Turkey and Jordan, a place that she said the U.S. would have to step up and provide some military power to protect.




Stephen Colbert doesn’t want to hear about the Islamic State anymore. “Here’s the deal: If you want to live in the 7th century, you don’t get to be on TV,” he said on Thursday’s Late Show. But he did want to talk about the fight over Syrian refugees. After ISIS’s attack on Paris, “the question over whether to let Syrian refugees into this country has become the new political issue,” he said, “completely overshadowing the old political issue: whether to let Mexicans into this country.” It’s all anyone is talking about in Washington and on the campaign trail, he added, “so let’s wander blindly onto the news tarmac and get sucked into one of the fear engines.”

He poked a little fun at President Obama for mocking the Republican presidential candidates’ purported fear of orphans and 3-year-old refugees, noting that the Republicans are actually scared of the adults who accompany those toddlers, then adding: “Why shouldn’t we be scared of 3-year-olds? You think you can’t negotiate with terrorists? Try negotiating with a 3-year-old. They play hardball.” But mostly he chided the Republicans for their selective opposition to accepting Syrian refugees.

Donald Trump suggested that the Syrians would prefer to live in a war-ravaged desert than frigid Minnesota, and Jeb Bush and Sen. Ted Cruz only want to let in Christian refugees — because, Colbert said, showing off his knowledge of world religions, Cruz and Bush “know they can relate to your average Syrian Christians — you know, like the Syriac Orthodox.” Then he opened up the Good Book and slammed it on Bush, who said Thursday it’s easy to prove you’re a Christian. Colbert took him up on the challenge: “If you want to know if somebody is Christian, just ask them to complete this sentence: Jesus said, ‘I was hungry, you gave me something to eat; I was thirsty, you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you….'” he said. “And if they don’t say ‘welcomed me in,’ they are either a terrorist, or they are running for president.” Peter Weber


Comparing Jewish Refugees of the 1930s With Syrians Today

The German liner St. Louis, carrying about 900 German Jewish refugees, was denied entrance to the Havana harbor in 1939. The ship was later denied entrance to the United States and returned to Hamburg, Germany.

A tweet drawing a historical parallel to the current plight of Syrian refugees drew thousands of retweets this week.

An article in The Washington Post with a similar premise also drew attention in recent days.

They both raised the question: How apt is the comparison between Syrians today and German Jews before World War II, and what can and cannot be learned from it?

Some historians say that, while the two groups are not completely symmetrical, there are lessons to be drawn.

Republican leaders and some Democrats have sought to halt the Syrian refugee program, fearing fighters from the Islamic State could be among the 10,000 migrants allowed to enter the country.

“We cannot allow terrorists to take advantage of our compassion,” Speaker Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin said. “This is a moment where it is better to be safe than to be sorry.”

“I don’t think it would meet the part of wisdom,” said Senator Gerald P. Nye of North Dakota, according to the Nov. 5, 1938 edition of The New York Times. “Our conditions here at home prohibit accepting an influx of population.”

Peter Shulman, an associate professor of history at Case Western Reserve University and the man behind the @HistOpinion Twitter account, said most of the responses to his tweet had supported the premise, while others disputed it. Americans were primarily concerned with economics in 1939 while today’s fears are related to safety, many replied.

It’s true that Americans in 1939 were worried about refugees taking jobs. Those who lived through the Depression were overwhelmingly supportive of restricting immigration, Mr. Shulman said.

But safety was also a concern. Jews were associated with a variety of acts and ideas that were seen as un-American, Mr. Shulman said, including Communism and violence.

That caused Jewish refugees to be “extraordinarily, excruciatingly vetted,” said Marion Kaplan, a professor in the Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies at New York University.

“The State Department worried that among the Jewish refugees there would be Nazi spies,” she said. “There was hysteria about fifth columnistscoming in with the refugees.”

One area where the two refugee groups do not neatly match, Ms. Kaplan said, is the racial animus they faced both home and abroad. Unlike modern Syrians, Jews in the 1930s “were singled out as the racial enemy, par excellence, in German society,” she said.

And the United States was not entirely welcoming. On top of wanting to preserve jobs, Americans were concerned about Jews “weakening the Nordic or Anglo racial stock,” Mr. Shulman said. “That was a very real concern.”

He added: “You can’t just reduce it to economics or politics. That sort of racial identity was very powerful.”

One similarity is in the language used by those supporting the refugees.

“We must not let ourselves be moved by fear in this country,” Eleanor Roosevelt said, according to a Times report on Nov. 29, 1939. “We have seen that happen too many times in other countries. Sometimes I worry about the possibility that we will follow their example.”

President Obama expressed a similar sentiment this week in Manila. “When candidates say we should not admit 3-year-old orphans, that’s political posturing,” he said. “When individuals say we should have religious tests, and only Christians, proven Christians, should be allowed, that’s offensive and contrary to American values.”

Mr. Shulman said he believed there were enough similarities to draw a “moral connection” between the two situations.

“There’s definitely been a minority of people who want to draw the line and acknowledge, ‘Yes, it was a mistake in the past, but this is totally different,’” he said.