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Arab Social Media Users Debate Whether Hurricane Irma Was ‘Divine Punishment’

TEL AVIV — Arab social media users have been extensively discussing Hurricane Irma and the extent to which the powerful storm was “divine punishment” or a natural phenomenon that is appropriate to the climate in the region.

Saudi religious figure Abou Abdelaziz quoted the Quran and then wished harm to those who are not “brothers.” He wrote, “Hurricane Irma – ‘Only Allah knows who his soldiers are.’ Allah make the hurricane easy for our brothers and make it destructive for those who destroyed the land with their crimes and their wickedness.”

Jordanian-Palestinian journalist and analyst Yasser Zaatreh chose to preach to the Americans, “The hurricanes are haunting the Americans and costing them tens of billions of dollars. Their catastrophes also didn’t stop after they were hurt by the election of Trump, and here comes the hurricane!! It’s not only politicians who create events!!”

Qatari activist Bint al-Masnad wrote, “The 450 billion Trump took from Saudi Arabia with a kiss has been wasted on the reconstruction of Houston. So, where will he get the money this time to rebuilt the damage caused by Irma!!??”

The moderators of the Islamic account “Fortress of Muslims” wrote of Irma, “The strongest country in the world economically, technologically and militarily is standing impotent, weak and beaten before one soldier from the soldiers of Allah…! Praise Allah, how amazing you are.”

The account “The End Times” wrote, “Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma, hurricanes that destroy the U.S. The hurricane is a soldier of Allah. In a previous discussion we referred to a prophecy that tells us they will be destroyed by the destructive hurricanes.”

The account of Egyptian satirist Jo wrote, “The hurricane went up to American at a loss about equal to what Trump took from Saudi Arabia…!! I wonder who cursed the money Trump took?”

Yet there were others who lectured social media users about attributing causes for the hurricane.

Waseem Yousef, a well-known religious figure from the United Arab Emirates wrote, “No one wishes death on the people of Florida unless Allah has taken pity out of his heart. There are innocent women and children there and we pray to Allah for their safety.”

Saudi religious figure Abdelaziz al-Moussa wrote, “Allah protect the people from hurricane Irma, save the innocent, the women, the children and the old. Allah protect the human beings and protect the animals. Allah protect the land from all destruction.”

Hamzeh al-Muzeini, a lecturer at the King Saud University in Riyadh wrote, “Those attributing the hurricane to Allah and claiming that this is divine punishment underrate Allah. These hurricanes have been hitting the same area since before the founding of America.”

Saudi author and media personality Halime al-Muthaffar wrote, “The gloating of the tragedies of non-Muslims stem from a sick heart, unhealthy mind and deficient consciousness. The Muslim is supposed to be born compassionate.”

Egyptian media personality Wael Qandil also expressed anger toward those who filled social media with joy for the destruction of the U.S., writing, “Is it possible to define as a natural person those who wish that the hurricane will kill the man and stone? Can he be defined as a human?”

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