"This degree from a university with Muslim flavour is special as I am committed to religious harmony. Since September 11, I have been defending Islam. For a few misguided people we should not blame a religion. Islam is one of the important religions in the planet, and hope for millions of people, Islam has been misunderstood due to some mischievous people who happened to have an Islamic background," said His Holiness the Dalai Lama on Tuesday.
The Degree of Doctor of Letters (Honoris Causa) was conferred on His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso, leader of Tibet by vice-chancellor Najeeb Jung at Jamia`s annual convocation. Union HRD, science and technology and communication and IT minister Kapil Sibal was present.
"Jamia Millia Islamia honors His Holiness the Dalai Lama of Tibet, one of the most respected figures and teachers of our times, who stands for rationality, humanism, non-violence, peace and universal benevolence, with the degree of Doctor of Letters," states the degree citation.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama's "message of compassion, altruism and peace has made him a statesman of our troubled times," and adds that His Holiness "has led the Tibetan refugees in a remarkable success story where even after more than 50 years in exile, the [Tibetan] community has been able to retain its unique identity and remain welcome by their hosts,' further notes the degree citation.
Addressing the younger members of the crowd, His Holiness said I felt extremely honored to receive a Doctorate degree from a well-known Muslim university in India adding one of his two commitments is to promote religious harmony among different religious traditions. His Holiness said Islam is one the most important world religious traditions that provides hope and inspiration to millions of its followers. In Lhasa, a small Muslim community who first came to Tibet as traders co-existed peacefully with the dominant Tibetan Buddhist community for centuries, His Holiness said. "There is no record of Muslims fighting with Tibetans in Lhasa."
In a special message for the students, the Tibetan leader urged the students to strive towards a peaceful world. He started his speech by requesting those present not to misunderstand him for use of wrong words because "my English is not so good". "We should not generalize Muslims for a few mischievous followers of Islam. There are mischievous elements in all religions, including Hinduism and Buddhism. Problems we are facing in the world today are our own creation. To create a harmonious society, we need young people with vision and for that education and moral ethics should go hand in hand," said His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
The University awarded 3,529 degrees and diplomas to students from it's various faculties and departments for successful completion of their postgraduate, undergraduate and diploma programmes in the academic session 2008-09. The university also awarded 147 gold medals to toppers in different courses and awarded 127 PhD degrees to research scholars.