Muslims scholars and leaders in Asia are rejecting a call by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) to recognise a "caliphate" in Iraq and Syria.
The Middle Eastern extremist group announced June 29th the establishment of a caliphate straddling both countries and said its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, "had accepted the pledge" to serve as "caliph of the Muslims".
From South to Southeast Asia, leading Muslim figures and influential bodies condemned ISIS's declaration as baseless and a violation of core Islamic principles.
"A war between the groups who want to establish themselves and fight to grab the land and resources is against the fundamentals of Islam and a serious crime," Maulana Asad Khan Falahi, head imam at New Delhi's India Gate Mosque, told Khabar. "Therefore, (it) can't be construed as a caliphate. The loss of life and destruction of properties can't be jihad and its outcome can't be declared as a caliphate."
In Indonesia, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) – one of the country's most influential Muslim organisations – joined in denouncing ISIS.
"NU will focus on God's command. NU will not accept a caliphate and considers the establishment of one by ISIS to be false," NU cleric Malik Madani told Khabar. "The establishment of a caliphate can only happen when the entire Islamic ummah agrees to do so.
"ISIS does not have that condition. Muslims are scattered throughout countries and operate under laws of nation states."
Muhammadiyah, Indonesia's second-largest Muslim organisation, pledged not to engage with ISIS and al-Baghdadi.
"We see what they (ISIS) have done, furthering violence and conflict in the midst of the political realities in Muslim countries like Indonesia," Muhammadiyah Secretary General Abdul Mu'thi told Khabar.
In his view, co-operation among nation states is needed instead of a hegemony imposed by ISIS.
"We should not be involved with ISIS because of our faith as good Muslims," he added. "We will stand for the good, and political ambition is not always in line with what we believe. Therefore, Muhammadiyah rejects ISIS."
"Islam has nothing to do with it"
In India, internationally renowned Islamic scholar Maulana Wahiduddin Khan told Khabar that a caliphate required a free and fair election without discrimination against caste, creed or religion.
"The man who proclaimed himself as caliph has violated Islamic fundamentals and dishonoured sharia," Khan said. "Let me put the record straight … there should be no confusion in anyone's mind that the caliphate terminated with the tenure of Hazrat Ali (the Prophet Muhammad's last caliph)."
Maulana Syed Jalaluddin Umari, president of India's Jammat-e-Islami Hind, said ISIS violated Islamic rules for selecting a caliph.
"We reject it and condemn the violence carried in the name of Islam in Iraq and anywhere in the world," Umari told Khabar. "Islam has nothing to do with it, and Muslims should refrain from supporting any act which is against teachings of Islam."
Similar views were expressed in Bangladesh.
"The existing democratic system of governance is flawless – we cannot certainly claim that," said Kazi Nurul Islam, a professor of world religions and culture at Dhaka University. "But despite all the wrongs and weaknesses in the system, a caliphate is not a realistic alternative."
Islami Oikyo Jote chairman Misbahur Rahman Chowdhury told Khabar, "Muslims themselves chose their own ruler…. Islam recognises democracy. In this world, there is no scope for embracing a caliphate."
The view from the street
Bekasi, Indonesia resident Muhammad Abdul Khadir said he and his community have rejected ISIS efforts to recruit Southeast Asian Muslims.
"Our community leaders, religious leaders, and local police in Bekasi have placed pressure to dismiss the head of the Mosque Welfare Council (DKM) of Muhammad Ramadhan Mosque, Muhammad Nanang, after he voiced support for ISIS's call for jihad," Abdul told Khabar.
In Kuala Lumpur, Abdul Muis Bahri said he couldn't understand why any Muslim would support ISIS.
"They are al-Qaeda affiliates and what they have done is only kill people, create insecurity, and shed innocent blood. We should provide more understanding to our younger generations and children," he told Khabar.
Javed Ahmad, a student at Jamia Millia Islamia University in New Delhi, urged Muslim scholars to help prevent young people from being lured into the clutches of groups like ISIS.
"It is the responsibility of Muslim scholars to react immediately and spread awareness among the masses," he said. "Otherwise, it will add more fuel to the violence that is carried out in the name of sectarianism."
"What could be worse than Muslims killing each other in the name of Islam and all of them claim they are true representatives of God?" Ahmad asked.
Even hardline group Hizbut Tahrir has directed its members to not support the concept of al-Baghdadi's caliphate, according to Abdul Hakim Othman, a spokesman in Malaysia.
"Muslims are scattered to all nations," Abdul told Khabar. "Therefore, the establishment of ISIS as a caliphate is rhetoric only, without legitimacy."
Aditya Surya in Bekasi, Alisha Nurhayati in Kuala Lumpur, Altaf Ahmad in New Delhi, and Shahriar Sharif in Dhaka contributed to this report.