A number of Arab leaders in the Middle East attacked the United States following Hurricane Irma, claiming the storm was punishment from Allah for the nation’s political policies, but now some fellow Arabs have come to America’s defense, says a report in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
The storm that ravaged Caribbean islands before hitting Florida left behind a death toll in the state of more than two dozen and billions of dollars in property damage.
Several Arab writers immediately claimed the storm was Allah’s revenge, according to researchers at the Middle East Media Research Center, who monitor, analyze and report on media in the region.
MEMRI many on Arab social media expressed delight in the disaster, “calling Irma divine punishment for the U.S. administration’s policy vis-à-vis the Arab and Muslim countries.”
For example, Lebanese imam Sheikh Mus’ad Najem tweeted: “America, with all its power, its people, its iron, all its institutions, and its capabilities, is helpless before a storm – as if Allah were avenging all those who lost their relatives.”
Muhammad Al-Sabi’i of Saudi Arabia tweeted: “Allah, make Hurricane Irma a punishment and a loss for all those who killed and expelled [people] and destroyed the Muslim lands of Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, and so on. You can do anything.”
But MEMRI reported other Arabs defended the United States.
“We must not rejoice at the misfortunes of others, because among [those affected by the storm] there are civilians, and perhaps also people who are not hostile to Islam and the Muslims, and those who are not involved in the countries’ policy-making,” wrote Ahmad Al-Hasanat, an officer of Jordan’s Fatwa Department.
Khaled Montasser, columnist for the Egyptian daily Al-Watan, spoke out against those who claim that Irma was a divine punishment, MEMRI said, wondering how they explain how so few died during the hurricane, while other disasters, natural and otherwise, that struck the Muslim world had killed hundreds.
Muhammad Ali Farahat, writing in the Saudi Al-Hayat, pointed out that Muslims also have been injured and killed by natural disasters.
The report said Yousuf Al-Sharif, who writes for the UAE daily Al-Bayan, “called the writers who referred to Irma as divine punishment ‘ignoramuses.'”