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Arab Social Media Users Debate Whether Istanbul Nightclub Victims Deserved ‘Punishment’

Some Arab social media users expressed sorrow over Saturday’s blast in Istanbul, in which Saudi, Lebanese, Israeli and other foreign citizens were hurt, while others said it was a punishment for those who celebrated a Christian festival in an “immoral” nightclub.

Bin Khaled, a Saudi man, retweeted a picture of a young compatriot who said he was inside the nightclub and asked for forgiveness: “May Allah forgive you and save you, but we shouldn’t be those who ask for Allah’s mercies when they are in danger at sea, but when they return to shore and to their sins.”

Another commented on the photo: “A Saudi named Amer, who was in the club, declared he ditched his sinful ways and reconnects with Allah. It happened when he saw death before his eyes… This time you were saved, but please don’t return to sin.”

Rahma commented sarcastically: “It’s not an innocent question, but those who died tonight in a Turkish nightclub are martyrs of the homeland or martyrs of the nightclub? Or martyrs of what? I’d like to know.”

A user named Strange was less sympathetic toward the victims, and wrote that dying amid depravity brings shame on a person even after his death. “Allah, do good to us. Save us from shame in our life and save us from the torments of hell.”

Fawaz bin Abdullah, a poet, wrote: “The bombing in Istanbul: I’m still confused. In other countries we’d describe it as divine punishment, in others we’d call it a terrorist attack. Allah, protect the countries of the Muslims.”

Tareq fumed at those who were quick to moralize the victims: “Some wait to see if the shooting was at a restaurant or a nightclub to know whether they should extend their condolences or not. To them, I say: Thank Allah that the keys to heaven are not in your hands.”

“The Arab victims were there for the Syrians,” Sabrina tweeted sarcastically. “They were the same people who only a few days ago cried over Aleppo and today got killed in a nightclub. What an ending they got from Allah.”

Noone fumed at the gloaters: “Because you think they are sinners you wish them to die like that, it’s really stupid.”

An equally critical Mera tweeted: “No soul knows where it will find its death. To those who gloat, do you know where yours will? Stop to protect yourselves.”

Some, like Wiam Wahab, a Druze self-declared pro-Bashar Assad and Hezbollah supporter from Lebanon, had a score to settle with Turkey: “The attack in Turkey is despicable, but wasn’t it Erdogan who nurtured this kind of terror to ruin Syria and Iraq? Don’t be surprised if the same terror turns against him.”

The Algerian journalist Anwar Malek, however, tweeted: “The attack in Istanbul is just a part of an international scheme to destabilize Turkey at the expense of innocent people.”

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