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Monday, December 10, 2007                                                                                       View Comments

"Sinners" blamed for drought

A radical Christian group with the ear of prominent politicians has blamed “sinful” Australians for the nation’s record drought.

Catch the Fires Ministries, which has links to several prominent politicians including Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, has hired Festival Hall so 5000 of its followers can pray for rain on Australia Day.

Leader Danny Nalliah said moral decline, not climate change, was responsible for the drought.

“Australia has turned away from Almighty God … the sinful condition of mankind has contributed to the stem of rainfall,” he said.

But Mr Nalliah, who was one of two pastors sued for vilifying Muslims, said prayer was breaking the drought.

The group has a national database of 10,000 names.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd sent a video address to one of the ministry’s events. And Mr Nalliah, who has addressed the anti-Semitic League of Rights, has had meetings with John Howard and Peter Costello.

“When John Howard called the nation to pray for rain, and the church enthusiastically responded in united prayer, the heavens opened,” he said.

“Since that historic prayer gathering in our nation’s capital, Australia has experienced unceasing drought-breaking rain.”

Despite his opposition to Islam, the pastor’s position is similar to that of Muslim cleric Mohammed Omran. This year Sheik Omran preached the drought, climate change and pollution were due to Australians’ lack of faith in Allah.

“The fear of Allah is not there. So we have now a polluted earth, a polluted water, a wasteland,” he told a meeting.