Hurricane Katrina, which ravaged the United States Gulf Coast this week, has incited a storm of enthusiasm among Islamic bloggers who claim the destruction was sent by God to torment the American empire.
”Katrina, a soldier sent by God to fight on our side … the soldier Katrina joins us to fight against America,” said one Islamic website.
Another said: ”Allahu akbar [God is greatest]. Soldiers of God, Hurricane Katrina demolishes America. Don’t think that God doesn’t care about the injustices of tyrants.”
Internet sites published dozens of photos showing crumbled buildings, overturned cars, flooded streets, devastated oil refineries, residents wading through muck and water and US flags ripped to shreds by the hurricane that wreaked havoc in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.
The pictures should ”serve as a lesson”, one blogger said.
”In spite of being a superpower and of its technological development, America was unable to cope with the power of the Almighty,” the writer said.
Another blogger, who decorated his site with photos of al-Qaeda leaders Osama bin Laden and Iraq’s most-wanted man, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, said: ”America observes silence over its human losses.”
The Islamic perspectives were not limited to the internet.
A Kuwaiti Arabic-language newspaper published similar comments by the director of the Kuwaiti ministry of endowment’s research centre, Mohammed Yussef al-Mlaifi.
”When the satellite channels reported on the scope of the terrifying destruction in America [caused by] this wind, I was reminded of the words of [Prophet Mohammed]: ‘The wind sends torment to one group of people, and sends mercy to others.’
”I do not think — and only Allah knows — that this wind, which completely wiped out American cities in these days, is a wind of mercy and blessing. It is almost certain that this is a wind of torment and evil that Allah has sent to this American empire,” he said in the daily Al-Siyassa.
”But how strange it is that after all the tremendous American achievements for the sake of humanity, these mighty winds come and evilly rip [America’s] cities to shreds? Have the storms joined the al-Qaeda terrorist organisation?”
He also cited a passage he found in the Qur’an: ”The disaster will keep striking the unbelievers for what they have done, or it will strike areas close to their territory, until the promise of Allah comes to pass, for, verily, Allah will not fail in His promise.”
Many bloggers drew parallels between the destruction caused by the storm and that brought by US military action in Afghanistan and Iraq, and blasted US President George Bush’s so-called ”war on terror”.
”America fights Islam in the name of the war against terrorism, kills innocents in Afghanistan and Iraq and supports the Zionist entity [Israel],” said one site, then listing two dozen curses — habitually used by Islamic radicals at the end of prayers — against the US.
Amid all the criticism, at least one blogger spoke out in defence of the victims, saying he was ”exasperated at the rejoicing over the misfortunes of Americans”.
”Certainly, the leaders of the United States have oppressed many peoples, but the citizen … is in no way guilty.”
Islamic websites had also cast blame on South Asian countries hit by last year’s tsunami that killed more than 125 000 people, saying ”the hand of God” was involved.
Back then, one scribe described the tsunami as ”divine vengeance against Thailand, a country of debauchery”.
Katrina is estimated to have killed thousands in the affected regions and caused widespread property damage. — Sapa-AFP