COLOMBO - A firebrand Sri Lankan monk on Tuesday criticised the Dalai Lama for urging the island's Buddhists to halt violence against minority Muslims and rejected him as a global spiritual leader.
Buddhist monk Galagodaatte Gnanasara said the Dalai Lama was ignorant of the "true situation in Sri Lanka" and accused the Nobel Peace Prize winner of being a victim of "Islamic extremist propoganda".
The exiled Tibetan spiritual leader earlier this month asked Buddhists in Myanmar and Sri Lanka "to imagine an image of Buddha" before committing any crimes against Muslims, in a plea to halt the violence.
"We don't accept the Dalai Lama as a world leader of Buddhists," Gnanasara told reporters.
"He is a creation of the West. For them, he is to Buddhists what the Pope is to Catholics, but not for us." Hardline Buddhists in Sri Lanka have attacked dozens of shops, homes and mosques in violence against minority Muslims, whom they accuse of trying to divide the Buddhist-majority country.
The religious violence, the worst in decades, has left four people dead. It has been blamed on Gnanasara and his hardline group of monks called the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) or Buddhist Force.