On December 26, 2004, an underwater earthquake occurred off the west coast of the Indonesian island of Sumatra, which led to one of the most destructive tsunamis in history. Over 200,000 people are believed to have been killed, while over 100,000 more were injured and over 40,000 missing. In addition, over one million people were displaced. Around twenty countries were affected by the tsunami, and the worst destruction took place in India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Somalia, Sri Lanka, and Thailand.
The reason there were over 200,000 deaths from the tsunami is because at the time there was no tsunami warning system in the Indian Ocean. Such a system was set up in 2006.
Humanitarian aid came from practically every nation, with the West donating the largest amounts of money (the United States and Australia each pledged over one billion dollars). But Muslim nations with vast oil industries (e.g. Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Algeria, Bahrain, and Libya) contributed less than a tenth of what the United States and Australia had given, despite the fact that several Muslim nations (Indonesia in particular) were greatly affected by the tsunami. Why? Because some Muslims believed that the tsunami was Allah’s
punishment on such nations (e.g. Indonesia, Sri Lanka) since the victims were either infidels or were not being good Muslims. In addition, some Muslims linked the tsunami to the fact that it occurred the day after Christmas. As one cleric from Saudi Arabia put it: “it happened at Christmas when fornicators and corrupt
people from all over the world come to commit fornication and sexual perversion.”
And now another tsunami has struck Indonesia just prior to Christmas, caused by an eruption by the Anak Krakatau (which is translated as Child of Krakatoa) volcano. The death toll is over 200, and is expected to rise. It even swept the members of the music band Seventeen off the stage during a concert performance, and one of its members is missing as a result.
It should be noted that another tsunami took place in Indonesia back in September due to an earthquake, and it resulted in the deaths of over 2,500 people.
Needless to say, prayers and aid have been offered from across the globe. It remains to be seen how much aid will come from the Muslim world, given how some Muslims have a dim view of Christmas (and Christians in general).