NEW DELHI (AP) — More than 1,000 Muslim clerics in India have ratified a religious ruling that condemns the Islamic State and calls the extremist group's actions "un-Islamic," a top Indian Muslim leader said Wednesday.
Religious leaders from hundreds of Islamic mosques, education institutions and civic groups across India have signed the edict, or fatwa, saying the actions of the Islamic State group went against the basic tenets of Islam.
The edict was issued by a leading Mumbai-based cleric, Mohammed Manzar Hasan Ashrafi Misbahi, and has been signed by the leaders of all the main mosques in India, which has the world's third-largest Muslim population.
"The acts of the Islamic State are inhuman and un-Islamic," Misbahi said by phone from Mumbai. "Islam does not allow the killing of even an animal. What the Islamic State is doing is damaging to Islam."
Misbahi said the fatwa — which is around 1,100 pages and labels the Islamic State group "un-Islamic" — has been sent to the leaders of more than 50 countries, seeking their endorsement.
Muslim clerics across India will speak to their followers after prayers on Friday, explaining the contents of the edict and why it is important to denounce the Islamic State, said Abdul Rehman Anjaria, president of the Islamic Defense Cyber Cell.
Among prominent supporters of the edict are the chief clerics of New Delhi's iconic Jama Masjid mosque, as well as the leaders of the Muslim shrines of Ajmer Dargah and Nizauddin Aulia in northern India and several Muslim sects.
Anjaria said the Islamic State group was enticing young people to join by using social media for propaganda and giving a false impression of Islam.
"There is no doubt the Islamic State has damaged the image of Islam," he said. "Islam does not allow the killing of people in the name of religion. What they are doing to women ... Islam teaches us to respect women."
Over the past few months, Indian authorities have stopped around two dozen young people from leaving the country to join Islamic State fighters. The group's extremist ideology has not found many supporters in India, with officials saying they have evidence that 17 Indians have joined the Islamic State.
India's 172 million Muslims mostly follow a moderate version of the religion and have opposed the extreme practices of the Islamic State group and al-Qaida. Muslims constitute about 14 percent of India's population of nearly 1.3 billion.