The Dalai Lama will join controversial Muslim scholar Tariq Ramadan in Montreal on Wednesday for a conference on world religions and peace in the aftermath of 9/11.
But rather than promising inspiration in a world plagued by religious tumult, the conference has already stirred up controversy and dissension as critics charge that the Dalai Lama is being duped into promoting Islamc fundamentalism.
The Second Global Conference on World’s Religions After Sept. 11 is being organized by McGill University and the Université de Montréal and organizer Arvind Sharma, a professor of comparative religion at McGill, says the goal is to debate how religions can contribute to peace in the world.
He is also hoping to have the participants adopt three resolutions, including one that says violating the sanctity of the scripture of any religion amounts to violating the sanctity of all religions.
To Tarek Fatah, founder of the Muslim Canadian Congress, this is just a way of saying religions are above reproach and tacitly endorsing Sharia, or Islamic law, and he is furious the Dalai Lama would be asked to support that.
“This is a sugar-coated attempt by Islamists to co-opt other religious leaders being asked to come here in good faith,” said Fatah, a critic of Ramadan who, he charges, masks his true views of Muslim fundamentalism behind a fake facade of moderation.
Yes, that’s the same Muslim Canadian Congress that recently joined the EDL-supporting Jewish Defence League in a protest against Muslims being allowed to pray in Toronto schools.
Update: See “Stop painting religions in image of their destructive followers: Dalai Lama”, CTV, 7 September 2011