Jerusalem (CNSNews.com) - The earthquake that caused tidal waves to slam into the coast of Southeast Asia, killing at least 145,000 people, could have been the result of joint American, Israeli and Indian underwater weapons testing, an Egyptian weekly and other Arab media charged.
The earthquake struck along a known fault line deep beneath the surface of the Indian Ocean on December 26, generating 30-foot swells of water that engulfed resort areas and entire villages along the coasts of Thailand, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and India.
But in the Middle East, where some prominent figures still accuse the Israeli secret service of perpetrating the Sept. 11 terror attacks on the U.S., conspiracy theories about the tsunami disaster are taking root.
The Egyptian nationalist weekly Al-Usbu' accused the U.S., Israel and India of carrying out nuclear testing that may have cased the tsunami. Those nations were testing "how to liquidate humanity," the newspaper said.
"Was [the earthquake] caused by American, Israeli, and Indian nuclear testing on 'the day of horror?' Why did the 'Ring of Fire' explode?" Mahmoud Bakri asked in his "investigative" piece published in the weekly on January 1.
"According to researchers' estimates, there are two possible [explanations] for what happened. The first is a natural, divine move, because the region is in the 'Ring of Fire,' a region subject to this destructive type of earthquakes," Bakri wrote according to a translation of the article provided by the Middle East Media Research Institute on Friday.
"The second possibility is that it was some kind of human intervention that destabilized the tectonic plates, an intervention that is caused only in nuclear experiments and explosions," he said.
The India Daily voiced similar sentiments in its December 29 posting but blamed the earthquake on the testing of an eco-weapon by its own government.
Al-Jazeera.com reports that many point the "finger of blame," not at Mother nature, but at "government cover-ups, top secret military testing in the waters of the Indian Ocean and even aliens attempting to correct Earth's 'wobbly' rotation."
But the most popular theory, it says, is that the Indian and U.S. military are the "main cause of the disaster by testing eco-weapons, which use electromagnetic waves, thus triggering off earthquakes."
Dr. Harvey Blatt, a geologist and professor at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, said such theories are "ridiculous."
"Anything that goes bad is blamed on the U.S. and Israel...Humans had nothing to do with this. All they can do is try to get out of the way," Blatt told CNSNews.com.
"Earthquakes happen all the time but they don't happen that often in the Indian Ocean," he said. The people were living in mud huts and there was no warning system and so they got swamped, he added.
No accolades for America
More than $4 billion in aid -- much of it from Western nations -- has been pledged for emergency assistance and to help rebuild the ravaged regions
The U.S. relief effort reportedly has been well received on the ground. But Arab media have not had much to say about the enormous sums of money the West has pledged to the region, which includes Indonesia, the most populous Muslim country in the world.
The Arab media has largely ignored Western contributions, instead concentrating on their own relief efforts, said Yotam Seldner of the Middle East Media Research Institute.
Oil-rich Saudi Arabia, which initially pledged just $10 million in disaster aid, tripled its pledge and then held a telethon on Thursday. Other local Arab television stations also launched fundraisers.
Other Gulf States have made sizeable contributions: the United Arab Emirates pledged $20 million, Kuwait $10 million and Qatar $25 million in aid.
In last Friday's sermon on Palestinian Authority television, Sheikh Ibrahim Mudeiris said that all those who died by drowning were martyrs. Nevertheless, he accused America and the Jews for bringing corruption to the area, which caused the judgment Allah to descend.
"The oppression and corruption caused by America and the Jews have increased," Mudeiris said, according to a translation provided by MEMRI.
"We...knew [Bangkok] as the center of corruption on the face of this earth. Over there, there are Zionist and American investments. Over there they bring Muslims and others to prostitution. Over there, there are beaches, which they dubbed 'tourists' paradise,' while only a few meters away, the locals live in hell on earth. They cannot make ends meet, while a few meters away there is a paradise, 'tourists' paradise,'" he charged.
"Whoever reads the Koran, given by the Maker of the World, can see how these nations were destroyed. There is one reason: they lied; they sinned; and [they] were infidels. Whoever studies the Koran can see this is the result," Ibrahim Al-Bashar, advisor to Saudi Arabia's Justice Minister argued on Saudi/UAE Al-Majd television.
"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 Saudi Professor Sheikh Fawzan Al-Fawzana on Al-Majd television.
He called it unfortunate that corrupt resorts exist in Islamic and other countries in South Asia.
"The fact that it happened at this particular time is a sign from Allah. It happened at Christmas, when fornicators and corrupt people from all over the world come to commit fornication and sexual perversion," he said, adding that all that is left is to ask for forgiveness.
But Saudi Cleric Muhammad Al-Majid said during the Saudi fundraiser that this was his country's opportunity to export Islam.
"Some elements hostile to our country try to portray it as a country that exports terrorism, bombings, accusations of heresy, and hatred of the 'other,'" Al-Majid said. "But, through this campaign...we are showing the whole world that our country exports global empathy, love, harmony, peace, and Islam."
According to the State Department, Saudi Arabia has one of the worst human rights records in the region.