Author: Bilal Cleland

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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26 January does not unite all Australians

That the USA, despite its internal white supremacist terror threat, has produced a black president and now a black vice-president, suggests it is more civilised regarding its racist undercurrent than Australia.

Here in Australia the beginning of white settlement, the arrival of the First Fleet on January 26, is still the central national celebration.

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Hate Speech: Lessons for Australia from New Zealand

The Report also found “… it appears that hate crime and terrorism may be more akin to close cousins than distant relatives.”

There is a warning here for rightwing extremists who believe that “freedom of expression” allows them to freely vilify and express contempt for target groups.

“There has been a tendency to see hate crime and hate speech as different phenomena … As we have explained, we see them as related, sitting on a spectrum of harmful behaviours and as warranting systematic review and reform.”

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