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Anger at go-ahead for Buddhist centre
Tuesday, 10 July 2012
THE biggest Tibetan Buddhist meditation centre in London will be created following planning approval – despite protests from Muslim and Christian groups.
On Tuesday evening, Lambeth council’s planning committee approved the plans for the former Beaufoy Institute, in Black Prince Road, Kennington, to become the Diamond Way Buddhism (DWB) organisation.
However, more than 40 protesters from the Lambeth Muslim Forum and the Lambeth Interfaith Network protested outside Lambeth Town Hall, in Brixton Hill amid claims the organisation is anti-Muslim and anti-Christian.
The meeting room was so packed that the protesters were denied entry and left to protest outside.
Objections to the new use of the Grade II listed building also came from the Lambeth Against Racism and Islamophobia group and Vauxhall MP Kate Hoey.
DWB is a the world’s largest lay Buddhist organisation, following the western Karma Kagyu lineage, under the Lama Ole Nydahl.
The controversy has arisen from comments made by Lama Nydahl during interviews and online, on “radical Islam” and scandals in Christian churches.
Toaha Qureshi, a member of the Lambeth Muslim Forum and trustee of the Stockwell Mosque, in Stockwell Green, believed Lama Nydahl’s comments amounted to “hate speech”.
He said: “We are not against Buddhists because it is a peaceful religion.
“We are protesting against this particular faction of Diamond Way because we believe their leader preaches hate.
“We were not allowed into the meeting.
“We don’t feel that the council has consulted with community leaders. If they had done that, we would not be here today.”
The centre will be used for meditation and well-being classes, as well as being available for use by community groups in Kennington.
The building’s 44 bedrooms will be used by volunteers from other UK centres, who will stay there to help with the day-to-day running of the facility.
DWB trustee Steve James has denied the organisation is Islamophobic and hailed the development as a way of protecting the historic building.
He said: “Diamond Way is an open organisation.
“Members come from a wide range of ethnic and cultural backgrounds, including Muslims, and would be shocked to be counted as members of an Islamophobic organisation.
“While Diamond Way Buddhism is not political, one of our teachers, Lama Ole Nydahl, has made personal statements on world affairs in press interviews.
“The occasional comments he has made about radical Islam have been grouped together and circulated in order to cause offence.”
All content © of South London Press unless stated otherwise.
Comments on this news item:
4 comments on this news item
Posted by : Richard, London | Sunday 28/Oct/2012 | Report this comment
If every religion was scrutinised for hate speech there certainly wouldn’t be a mosque built in this country.
Posted by : John, Brixton | Tuesday 17/Jul/2012 | Report this comment
If there is a God, then maybe he* just doesn’t give a toss. *I say ’he’ because if there is a God then it is almost certainly a ’he’ because a woman would never create or allow such a mess like this world to exist.
Posted by : Herbert, Streatham | Friday 13/Jul/2012 | Report this comment
I agree John - there’s nothing funnier than seeing the hatred the ’religions of peace’ feel for one another. Next week: Christians and Sikhs complain about new mosque being opened.
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