CAIRO (AP) — Egypt's top cleric has condemned the extremist Islamic State group that has been on a rampage in Iraq and Syria, describing it as a "terrorist" organization that poses a danger to Islam and Muslims.
The Islamic State is "violating all the Islamic principles and the intentions of the Shariah (Islamic law)," said Grand Mufti Shawki Allam, Egypt's highest religious authority.
In his remarks, which were carried by Egypt's state news agency late Tuesday, Allam also said the "bloody extremist group" had tarnished the image of Islam and paved the way for the destruction of Muslim nations.
"Confronting terrorism requires international and regional cooperation on all levels," the cleric urged. "The Arab world's future is facing a hard test."
The Islamic State is an al-Qaida breakaway group that has seized much of northeastern Syria and huge tracts of neighboring Iraq.
After the militant's blitz offensive in June, they declared a self-style caliphate straddling the Syria-Iraq border and their chief, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, called on Muslims everywhere to support him.
Muslim fundamentalists have long dreamed of recreating the caliphate, which ruled over the Middle East, much of North Africa and beyond in various forms over the course of Islam's 1,400-year history.