- By Joshua Keating
Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy
Remember when anti-American clerics used to call it the Great Satan? Those were the days:
A clerical alliance in Pakistan has issued a religious decree (fatwa) saying that it is illegitimate (haram) to call the United States a "superpower" because "only Allah Almighty deserved the title."
The Sunni Ittehad Council may not carry the same weight as, say, Standard & Poor’s when it comes to assessing American power, but it’s still troubling that an alliance of generally moderate Sufi Barelvi leaders, who are often targeted for attacks by the Taliban, are calling for "jihad against the U.S., in defense of the homeland."
This, however, is telling:
The scholars called upon the [Pakistani] government to end the country’s role as front-line state in the so-called US war on terror and try to establish a new bloc comprising China, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan. They also urged the government to start preaching Jihad in the way of God with the armed forces making preparations to counter any foreign aggression. They urged all politicians to bring back their assets from abroad as well as returning bank loans got through political influence.
As RFE/RL’s Gandhara’ blog notes, the clerics "probably don’t know that China is a majority non-Muslim country. They are also seemingly unaware that one of Beijing’s major security nightmares is the rising appeal of jihad among its minority Turkic Uyghur Muslims."
In other words, they’re not really paying attention to China. They may not want to call the U.S. a superpower, but it still seem to be the dominant global player in their worldview.
Thanks to RFE/RL’s Zach Peterson for the tip