Promiscuous women cause quakes: Cleric

Published Date: April 20, 2010 

BEIRUT: A senior Iranian cleric says women who wear revealing clothing and 
behave promiscuously are to blame for earthquakes. Iran is one of the world's 
most earthquake-prone countries, and the cleric's unusual explanation for why 
the earth shakes follows a prediction by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that a 
quake is certain to hit Tehran and that many of its 12 million inhabitants 
should relocate. "Many women who do not dress modestly ... lead young men 
astray, corrupt their chastity and spread adultery in
society, which (consequently) increases earthquakes," Hojatoleslam Kazem 
Sedighi was quoted as saying by Iranian media.

Women in the Islamic Republic are required by law to cover from head to toe, 
but many, especially the young, ignore some of the more strict codes and wear 
tight coats and scarves pulled back that show much of the hair. "What can we do 
to avoid being buried under the rubble?" Sedighi asked during a prayer sermon 
Friday. "There is no other solution but to take refuge in religion and to adapt 
our lives to Islam's moral codes.

Seismologists have warned for at least two decades that it is likely the 
sprawling capital will be struck by a catastrophic quake in the near future. 
Some experts have even suggested Iran should move its capital to a less 
seismically active location. Tehran straddles scores of fault lines, including 
one more than 80 km long, though it has not suffered a major quake since 1830.

In 2003, a powerful earthquake hit the southern city of Bam, killing 31,000 
people - about a quarter of that city's population - and destroying its ancient 
mud-built citadel. "A divine authority told me to tell the people to make a 
general repentance. Why? Because calamities threaten us," said Sedighi, 
Tehran's acting Friday prayer leader. Referring to the violence that followed 
last June's disputed presidential election, he said, "The political earthquake 
that occurred was a reaction to some of the action
s (that took place). And now, if a natural earthquake hits Tehran, no one will 
be able to confront such a calamity but God's power, only God's power. ... So 
let's not disappoint God.

The Iranian government and its security forces have been locked in a bloody 
battle with a large opposition movement that accuses Ahmadinejad of winning 
last year's vote by fraud. Ahmadinejad made his quake prediction two weeks ago 
but said he could not give an exact date. He acknowledged that he could not 
order all of Tehran's 12 million people to evacuate. "But provisions have to be 
made. ... At least 5 million should leave Tehran so it is less crowded," the 
president said.

Minister of Welfare and Social Security Sadeq Mahsooli said prayers and pleas 
for forgiveness were the best "formulas to repel earthquakes". "We cannot 
invent a system that prevents earthquakes, but God has created this system and 
that is to avoid sins, to pray, to seek forgiveness, pay alms and 
self-sacrifice," Mahsooli said. - AP

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

Kirim email ke