In a television interview transcribed by the Middle East Media Research Institute, a Saudi professor at Al-Imam University said the devastating tsunami that killed over 150,000 people was Allah's punishment for homosexuality and fornication at Christmastime. "These great tragedies and collective punishments that are wiping out villages, towns, cities, and even entire countries are Allah's punishments of the people of these countries, even if they are Muslims," said sheik Fawzan Al-Fawzan. "Some of our forefathers said that if there is usury and fornication in a certain village, Allah permits its destruction."
"We know that at these resorts, which unfortunately exist in Islamic and other countries in South Asia, and especially at Christmas, fornication and sexual perversion of all kinds are rampant," he continued. "The fact that it happened at this particular time is a sign from Allah.... All that's left for us to do is to ask for forgiveness. We must atone for our sins and for the acts of the stupid people among us and improve our condition. We must fight fornication, homosexuality, usury, fight the corruption on the face of the earth and the disregard of the lives of protected people."
The interview served as a painful reminder to gays and lesbians in the United States of comments made by far-right televangelist Jerry Falwell, who in 2001 blamed the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on gays, among others. "The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked," Falwell said on The 700 Club television show. "And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say, 'You helped this happen.'"