The Dalai Lama on Saturday condemned violence in the name of religion, claiming the Muslim concept of jihad was being misused and misinterpreted by Islamist extremists.
The Nobel Peace prize winner was referring to bloodshed unleashed by the Islamic State (ISIS) group in Syria and Iraq where it has conquered large swathes of territory, leaving bloodshed and brutal torture in its wake.
"Killing in the name of faith is unacceptable," he told a meeting of India's religious leaders including a senior Muslim cleric, the Roman Catholic archbishop of Bombay and the head of the Jewish community in Delhi at a two-day conference, reports AFP.
Jihad, the Muslim concept of holy war, should be a fight "to combat our inner destructive emotions", the 79-year-old spiritual leader said. "It (jihad) does not mean harming other people."
Not all share the appraisal that the ever-growing plague of violent jihadist terror is out of line with the Muslim precept of jihad.
Professor Rafi Israeli, an expert on Islam and the Arab world, told Arutz Sheva last Sunday that cruelty is a part of Islam, arguing the religion has a basic disregard for human life. He noted the Koran calls on Muslims to spread terror among their enemies without specifying who those enemies are, hence the internal war between Sunnis and Shi'ites since the start of the religion.
That take on Islam has been played out most recently by ISIS, which lately released videos of its brutal beheadings of US journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, as well as UK aid worker David Haines.
However, the Dalai Lama said "if we remain indifferent to what is happening around us, it is wrong. The spiritual people can show the world that it can be a happy family (despite) the different faiths."
The Dalai Lama, who fled Tibet after a failed uprising against Chinese rule in 1959, lives in the northern Indian hill station of Dharamsala. He says he supports "meaningful autonomy" for Tibet within China rather than outright independence, but Chinese authorities accuses him of covertly campaigning for Tibet's independence, branding him a "splittist."