CAIRO, Egypt - America's opponents in the Middle East are gloating over the financial meltdown in the United States, painting it as divine retribution for past misdeeds against Muslims and the last gasps of a dying empire.
Hardline clerics across the region and groups like Hamas and al-Qaida took delight in America's financial woes even though it has not left the region unscathed, with stock markets across the Middle East dropping more than 10 percent last week.
"We are witnessing the collapse of the American Empire," Hamas prime minister in the Gaza Strip, Ismail Haniyeh, told worshippers during Friday prayers. "What's going on in America is a result of the violation of the rights of people in Palestine, Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan and Muslims around the world."
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Tuesday that America was paying the price for exporting inflation and deficits to the rest of the world.
"Now the world capacity is full and these problems have returned to the U.S." he said. "And finally they are oppressors, and systems based on oppression and unrighteous positions will not endure."
High level Iranian cleric, Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, was more blunt addressing worshippers on Oct. 3.
"We are happy that the U.