The most mentioned name of Allah, Ar-Rahmaan, The Compassionate, is one of the features of the creation.
As Said el Nursi wrote: “Compassion is extremely broad. Through the compassion he feels for his child, a person’s compassion encompasses all young and even all living beings, and acts as a sort of mirror to the comprehensiveness of the Name of All-Compassionate. …………………… Moreover, compassion is sincere, wants nothing in return; it is pure and seeks nothing in exchange. The self-sacrificing, unselfish compassion of animals for their young, at the most common degree even, is evidence for this.”[The Letters – 49]
Muslims see in this universality of compassion, one of the signs of God. It affects our perception of the world. Oppression and tyranny, the denial of the rights of creation, are violations of this divine attribute.
Again the scholar for our age, Said el Nursi commented : “Due to compassion and the justice proceeding from Islam, I am one of those who for a long time have opposed and worked against the despotism and oppression of the elite class called the bourgeouisie. I therefore support total justice with all my strength, and oppose tyranny, oppression, arbitrary power, and despotism.” [The Flashes – 226]
Those conscious of this universal emotion of care for others, are facing violations so severe that silence becomes impossible. The destruction of Syria, the creation of a tsunami of refugees, both internal and external, the dismemberment of Iraq, the genocide of the Muslims of Myanmar, our own abuse of human rights in Australia, the rise of fascist racism and Islamophobia, make the world feel very precarious.
One example of the decline in compassion on the national scale is the slamming of our human rights record by the UN Special Rapporteur Michel Forst. He issued his end of mission statement on 18 October condemning the secrecy of the Border Force Act, censorship and “frequent public vilification of rights defenders by senior government officials.” He also called for a public inquiry into the treatment of Professor Gillian Triggs. [SMH 18 October] Although there is a growing body of opinion in Australia rejecting this increase in abuse of human rights, there are still major problems.
David Donovan drew attention to the lack of concern for children in our care – if they are immigrants, or asylum seekers. Commenting on the ABC Four Corners Program “The Forgotten Children” on Nauru, where according to Amnesty International, our treatment of children amounts to torture, he contrasted the response with that to the exposure of the Don Dale Youth Detention Centre. The latter was met with such a public outcry that the Turnbull Government announced a royal commission into it. The Four Corners report on Nauru was met with denial from the Nauruan Government, Peter Dutton calling the reporters ‘activists’ and the ABC irresponsible and LNP Senator Ian Macdonald called the allegations ‘trifling at best.” The PM, Malcolm Turnbull described Australia’s policies as “compassionate.” That must be a new interpretation of the term. The public response has also been muted.
Donovan’s conclusion suggests that the law will compensate for this lack of compassion.
“One day – and it may not be too far away, if reports of lawyers looking at developing cases against the Australia Government in the International Criminal Court (and even our domestic criminal courts) are correct – there will be a reckoning for what our nation has done to the children of Nauru. And statements like Turnbull’s, disabusing responsibility for what are clearly the actions of his Government and its agents, will be seen for what they truthfully are — pitiless, self-serving deceits. [Independent Australia 20 Oct 2016]