Magazine article The Spectator

If Katrina Was the Vengeance of Allah, What Was the Point of the Pakistan Earthquake?

Magazine article The Spectator

If Katrina Was the Vengeance of Allah, What Was the Point of the Pakistan Earthquake?

Article excerpt

Sofar, at least, we are none the wiser about why God sent an earthquake to kill so many people in Kashmir, Pakistan and Afghanistan. We can only hope that sooner or later his purpose will be made evident, so that we all might learn. Why would he torture his people so?

The mullahs have been remarkably silent.

The earthquake struck during the onset of Ramadan in two of the world's most devoutly Muslim countries. It is almost unbelievable that not a single bearded cleric from this most certain and steadfast of religions has offered some sort of explanation for the appalling loss of life and destruction of property. Is it not a judgment upon the Westernimposed infidel, General Pervaiz Musharraf?

Or perhaps he wishes for the restoration of the Taleban government in Kabul?

It is odd that no Islamic scholar, holed up in some dusty godforsaken madrasa, has so far advanced these arguments on Allah's behalf. Previous so-called 'natural' disasters, wheresoever they might have occurred, have provoked an immediate and righteous response from the imams. We recall the words of the fine Palestinian cleric Yusuf Abu Sneina, addressing his congregation the morning after Hurricane Katrina had laid waste to New Orleans and a goodly proportion of the US Gulf state sea coast: 'Oh, Muslims! The greatness of the USA has fallen in the face of the storm. Was the USA able to stop Allah's power and limit his will?' Yusuf was asking a rhetorical question here, of course. The answer, which we all knew, was: no, the USA was unable to resist Allah's will.

Even within the belly of the warmongering infidel whore, the cry was raised. That old Muslim battle-axe (and criminal) Louis Farrakhan clambered aboard the television bandwagon to suggest that the hurricane was nothing less than a judgment of Allah.

That'll be Allah the magnanimous, Allah the munificent, then.

You will recall, too, that certain Muslim clerics rejoiced in the tsunami which obliterated parts of Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India and Somalia last Christmas (to use an inapt and possibly offensive term). This was Allah's judgment upon Muslim countries which have allowed their hallowed soil to somehow become the playground of decadent infidel cockroaches, many averred. For those infidel cockroaches among us who have had the misfortune to travel to Banda Aceh -- which bore the brunt of the tsunami's havoc -- these deliberations came as a surprise and a shock: not a drink nor still less a shag to be found within 500 miles. But no matter: perhaps Allah should not be expected to be geographically precise.

Maybe he meant to hit Singapore, or Hong Kong.

The leader of Sri Lanka's Muslims, Mohammed Faizeen, studied the satellite pictures of the tsunami's devastating impact upon the Indian Ocean. 'Listen, ' he commanded, peering very closely at a map, 'the satellite pictures of the waves as they receded clearly spells out the name Allah. He sent it as punishment!' He was one among a very great many to see it thus.

Of course, Muslims do not have the monopoly on breathtakingly stupid and cruel, if politically expedient, divine explanations for natural disasters, although they may constitute a majority among those predisposed to such delusions. But, by way of example, first out of the blocks after Hurricane Katrina were the Orthodox Jews; a senior rabbi in Philadelphia annoyed the population at large by suggesting that the floods were an expression of God's displeasure at American foreign policy towards Israel. …

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