In the aftermath of the southern Asia tsunami that took more than 150,000
lives, people ask: “Why did this horror happen? Why did God allow it?” I
hesitate to raise the questions at all, knowing the answers will raise only
more questions. But an event of this scale – – biblical, some have said —
has even nonreligious people grappling with the nature of God and the
purpose of suffering. I posed the questions to followers of different

Baslim Elkarra of Sacramento, a Muslim with the Council on American-Islamic
Relations, said a colleague at CAIR in Maryland lost 30 family members in
the tsunami. Elkarra has reminded himself of a passage in the Quran in
which one line is repeated twice: “Verily with difficulty comes ease.”

“Life is not supposed to be easy,” he said. “How we respond is the test of
our faith. Here in the West people ask, How could God do this? Over there,
they turn to God even more, asking for his mercy”¦


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