The 0.5 Second: Mosques Stand through Earthquake and Tsunami

Mosques Stand through Earthquake and Tsunami

God’s invisible hands saved mosques for tsunami in Banda Ache, Indonesia

Indonesian Mosques Stand through Earthquake and Tsunami
Date: December 26, 2004 Place: Indonesia

In Indonesia's tsunami wastelands on the northern tip of Sumatra island, little remains of whole towns lost to the colossal forces that came thundering in from the ocean.

Mosques are an everyday sight in most of Indonesia, but especially in Aceh, credited with the being one of Islam's main gateways into the archipelago of islands which now forms the world's largest Muslim-populated country.

the disaster killed at least 100,000 people around the north Sumatran province of Aceh, Indonesia.

Despite a long-lasting independence struggle, Aceh, parts of which has remained a Muslim heartland for Indonesia, which mostly practices a very relaxed interpretation of the faith.

But while some spoke of "God's wrath", hundreds turned to their mosques, in panic for shelter from the advancing tides and later for spiritual comfort in a time of desperate need.

In the village of Kaju, also outside Banda Aceh, hundreds of homes were annihilated while the local mosque suffered only a few cracks in the walls.

For many it became a rallying place to search for missing friends or relatives, a makeshift hospital to treat the injured and a morgue to collect the dead.

Spiritual beliefs in Aceh and around the Indian Ocean were tested to the limit on December 26 when an epic earthquake sent towers of water crashing ashore, obliterating virtually everything in their path.

Another, less divine, explanation for the survival of the mosques is that many are built much more sturdily than most of the other structures in the towns and cities of Aceh.

The 0.5 Second: Mosques Stand through Earthquake and Tsunami