Muslims living in Islam's holiest city say they cannot comprehend how some of their fellow Muslims justify terrorist acts or violence on religious grounds.
During a visit to Mecca, home of the annual Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia, residents from different walks of life expressed to Khabar Southeast Asia anger and dismay at how a handful of people twist the meaning of the tenet of jihad and take it to such extremes.
Hotel manager Zaki ud-din said said he asked himself this very question: since Islam is a religion of peace that endorses no violence whatsoever, why is there confusion about the interpretation of jihad?
"Hajis (pilgrims), with whom I interact day in and day out, come here and pray for peace," he told Khabar. "I wonder why some Muslim groups are adamant on carrying out violence? If they believe they are right, then they have misunderstood Islam."
Sheikh al Tayab al Madni, a fellow with the Higher Institute for Promotion of Virtues and Prevention of Vice housed at Umm al-Qura University in Mecca, offered an academic's perspective.
"Reputed scholars from every part of world and from all schools of thoughts categorically issued a decree against extremists and the people who carry out violence in the name of Islam," he told Khabar. "It is shocking that they still don't refrain from killing innocents and doing all un-Islamic work."
"We are against all forms of violence manifested in the name of jihad. These people have done no good to Islam, except they have tarnished the image of Muslims across the globe and the mission of Dawah (the propagation of Islam) has [been dealt] a serious setback" he added.
Abdul Jabbar Qasmi, a local Hajj and Umrah instructor, commented that people from all over the globe converge on Mecca to pray for world peace and human prosperity. That is what the circumambulation of the Kaaba and the Hajj teaches practitioners of the Muslim faith, he told Khabar.
"I think peace is the definition of Islam, and those who want to destroy peace can never be Muslims," he said. "It is only God who has authority to take a life.
"According to the Qur'an, all human beings are Mukarram (honoured) and our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said that sanctity of a life and property of a human being was far greater than the sanctity of the Kaaba. Therefore, it is crystal clear that violence cannot be justified in Islam. Those who do it are not Muslims, and those who call it jihad are enemies of Islam."