The Dalai Lama said countries should welcome refugees from war-torn countries like Syria, Iraqand Afghanistan, but that the goal should be to make their home countries better and not let them live in Western countries permanently.
“When we look into the face of every single refugee, especially the children and women, we can feel their suffering," the Tibetan spiritual leader said, according to a German translation of his interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, The Times of India reports. "A human being who is a bit more fortunate has the duty to help them.”
But the Dalai Lama, a promoter of compassion who has been in exile from his homeland since 1959, also had some reservations about the large number of refugees.
“...There are too many now," he said.
"Europe, for example Germany, cannot become an Arab country,” the Dalai Lama said with a laugh. “Germany is Germany.”
But he wasn't joking.
"From a moral point of view too, I think that the refugees should only be admitted temporarily,” the Dalai Lama explained. "The goal should be that they return and help rebuild their countries."
Germany has taken in more than 1.1 million refugees fleeing war in the Middle East. The European nation will take in more than 650,000 refugees in 2016, Deutsche Welle reports.
“We have to spread the responsibility on more shoulders in Europe," the United Nation's high commissioner for refugees, Antonio Guterres, told the German newspaper Die Welt in December 2015, Deutsche Welle reports.
"In the long term, it is not sustainable for only two EU countries - Germany and Sweden - to take in the majority of refugees with efficient asylum structures," he said.
"Most people who come over the Mediterranean in boats are fleeing from conflicts and persecution," Guterres added. "All states in Europe have the moral obligation to welcome them, and they have the clear legal obligation to protect them."