Muslim Image Issues

It sounded like a script from Comedy Central staples “The Daily Show” or the “Colbert Report.” In an effort to promote understanding about the Muslim faith, the Dalai Lama recently met with Muslim leaders in San Francisco.

Some summit outtakes:

*Although the Muslim leaders and scholars needed the help of the world’s most influential Buddhist, there was one technical fly in the good faith ointment. Islam doesn’tactually, well, recognize Buddhism. Maybe it’s the absence of menace. Or that Buddhists are too easy on apostates. Perhaps Muslims are just not wild about saffron.

*The Dalai Lama made the point that terrorists don’t embody the real meaning of Islam. In so doing, he reached new euphemistic depths. “Those few mischievous ones do not represent the whole Muslim community,” he intoned. “Mischievous?” As in the tomfoolery of suicide bombers? “Mischievous?” This isn’t the whoopee cushion crowd but homicidal zealots and the “martyrs” from hell.

*But finally Hamza Yusef Hanson, founder of the Zaytuna Institute in Hayward, Calif., which is dedicated to reviving the sciences of classical Islam, nailed it. Islam, it would appear, needs serious PR help.

“Buddhism gets the best press of any religion in the world,” he pointedly noted. “Islam gets the worst press because it’s associated with war and belligerence.”

You never know when that light will go on.

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