Author: Bilal Cleland

The attitude of Qaroon and climate change

The career of Qaroon in the Quran serves to illustrate the short-sightedness of serving one’s own financial interests at the expense of others.
Although of Bani Israel, he was one of those who aligned himself with Pharaoh, assisting him in keeping the slaves under control.
For preventing revolt, Qaroon was well rewarded.
Some of Banu Israel were envious of him but those loyal to Musa had a different view.
They understood that his wealth was not of real value.
He did not enjoy the fruits of his tyranny and betrayal.

“ And We caused the earth to swallow him and his home. And there was for him no company to aid him other than Allah, nor was he of those who [could] defend themselves.” (Al Qur’an 28:81)

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Conspiracy theories, religion and politics

Elizabeth Neumann, formerly of the Department of Homeland Security, pointed out that social isolation during the pandemic is a known risk factor for the spread of extremism.

“… states with stay-at-home orders that lasted 10 days or longer, [online] searches for white-supremacist content increased by 21 percent. In states where there either weren’t stay-at-home orders or they lasted nine days or fewer, that increase was only 1 percent. “[2 April 2021 Politico Magazine]

Authoritarian structures in some strands of evangelicalism are “where you see the most ardent Trump supporters or the QAnon believers, because they’ve been told: “You don’t need to study [scripture]. We’re giving you the answer.”  [2 April 2021 Politico Magazine]

Their hatred of anti-pandemic measures  relates to their claim that masks are part of a Muslim plot to bring Sharia law to America.

“That masks leads to a burqa and then goes to Sharia law,” said Richard Hanely, a journalism professor. [29 July 2020 Middle East Eye]

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The waning of the Israeli narrative

An open letter objecting to the biased media reporting on Palestine, released by 675 Australian journalists, media workers, writers and commentators, was started by former Crikey journalist Jennine Khalik. 

 SBS journalists later removed their names, apparently under boss pressure.

“But the organisation’s crackdown on journalists has raised questions about double standards: SBS staff have previously gone on trips organised by the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies and supported by the JCA Haberman Kulawicz Wolanski Fund.” [21 May 2021 Amber Schultz Crikey]

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A government out of touch with its national culture

Mainstream Christianity is imbued with compassion.
“Christ spoke in terms of his own identification with the deprived and underprivileged: “I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.… Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren you did it to me …” [29 January 1965 Christianity Today]
Similarly Judaism invokes compassion as a key value.
The root word of compassion “rahmanut” is from the Hebrew word “reḥem,” womb, which implies a deep and abiding love. All who are around us need our caring and compassion. []
In Islamic teaching the most used Names of Allah are Ar-Rahman and Ar-Rahim.
“The roots of both these names of Allah are made up of the same root letters from which is derived the word “rahmah” which conveys the meaning of mercy and compassion; a sense of loving tenderness and grace, which stimulates in one the urge to show kindness to others. [8 April 2016 Munawar Haque AMDA]

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Elitist arrogance and behaviour needs to change

There has also been an upsurge of criticism of the behaviour of young men and boys from elite schools all over the country, schools which produce our conservative politicians.
A huge petition, started by Chanel Contos, a former student of Sydney’s Kambala girls’ school, reached 16,500 signatures by 22 February . More than 2,500 testimonials were received from students, some only 13, who had experienced sexual assault by other students.
Students from Scots College, Cranbrook, Sydney Grammar, Waverley College, Kambala, Kincoppal-Rose Bay, Monte Sant Angelo and Pymble Ladies’ College are repeatedly mentioned in the testimonies. [22 February 2021 Guardian]

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