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.S. economy is in anarchy and the anarchy is reaching Europe," Jannati said. "They are seeing the result of their own ugly doings and God is punishing them." Iran denies the financial crisis has hurt its economy, but the turmoil has helped drive the price of oil down more than 40 percent since July, shrinking revenues in a country that relies on oil for 80 percent of its budget. Al-Qaida was one of the first groups to express satisfaction over the financial crisis. "The enemies of Islam are facing a crushing defeat, which is beginning to manifest itself in the expanding crisis their economy is experiencing," said American al-Qaida member Adam Gadahn in a video released early this month. One hardline Sunni cleric in U.S.-allied Lebanon saw the financial collapse as God's answer to Muslim prayers. "God has responded to the supplications of the oppressed people," Mufti of Mount Lebanon Sheik Mohammed Ali al-Jouzo told the state-run news agency Thursday. "It is the curse that hits every arrogant power."