A Moroccan Islamist magazine backtracked Thursday on assertions that the Asian tsunami disaster was «divine punishment» for sex tourism, after criticism by newspapers and human rights groups.
The magazine Attajdid, which is close to the moderate Islamic Justice and Development party, said on January 6 the disaster was a warning to Morocco to take measures against sex tourism, which it described as a developing «calamity» here.
Attadjid said Thursday the article expressed the personal opinion of its author, with reference to the Koran, and had been deformed and exploited by critics.
But it added, «if we are not categorical that the tsunami was a divine punishment, because only God knows that … we believe, as all Muslims always have, that earthquakes and disasters depend on the will of God.»
It added: «We are surprised that people who think in this way have their right to free expression scorned.»
The Association for Combating Hatred and Racism (ALRH) had said the original statement was an insult not only to the more than 280,000 victims of the massive waves stirred up by an earthquake, but to all human beings.
The ALHR said the article was yet another indication that «fundamentalism is the natural father of terrorism.»
It said the magazine’s line had been echoed by some Islamic leaders, and warned Moroccans to be vigilant about «a discourse that under the cover or morality conceals inquisition and hatred.» (afp)