More than a dozen Islamic organisations in Malaysia have condemned a move by Saudi Arabia to declare the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist movement.
The 17 Malaysian organisations said they reject a declaration by the Senior Scholars of Saudi Arabia that described the Muslim Brotherhood as a "deviant terrorist movement that does not represent true Islam".
The joint statement said that Saudi move was based on false accusations and judgements without evidence.
It condemned the action against the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as previous fatwas by Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz bin Baz, which it said served to cause "further divisions among Muslims, in line with the Zionist entity".
It also referred to a 2016 report from the UK's Foreign Affairs Committee in the British House of Commons that concluded "the Muslim Brotherhood is a firewall in the face of terrorism and has received criticism and attack from extremist groups such as ISIS".
The Malaysian organisations called on Saudi Arabia to retreat from its stance against the Muslim Brotherhood, especially amid increasing numbers of normalisation agreements between Arab states and Israel.
Saudi Arabia earlier this year took action against the Muslim Brotherhood, which was established in Egypt in 1928.
The Muslim Brotherhood is a "violent terrorist group" that "does not represent Islam", Saudi Arabia's Council of Senior Scholars said.
The Saudi authority accused the group of being "a deviant that attacks rulers, stirs up discord, and uses the cover of religion to practice violence and terrorism", without disclosing further details.
More recently, the UAE-branded the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organisation.
The UAE Fatwa Council, the country's highest religious authority, announced the move in a virtual meeting led by bin Bayyah just months after a similar decision by Saudi Arabia.
The council also warned Muslims to stay away from groups that "work to divide the ranks and inflame discord and bloodshed", UAE news agency WAM reported.
"It is not permissible to pledge allegiance to anyone other than the ruler," the statement added, saying all residents should show "respect and commitment" to leaders.
The coordinated move against the Muslim Brotherhood was widely condemned in a statement by global Islamic scholars who called on Riyadh to reconsider.
The group of 18 Muslim scholar associations called for unity among Muslims and said the discourse of scholars should not be politicised, Arabi21 reported in November.
In a joint statement, religious scholar associations from Sudan, Libya, Lebanon, Palestine and other countries backed the Muslim Brotherhood as "defenders" of Islam.
"The Muslim Brotherhood is a missionary group … including a large number of scholars, preachers and Mujahideen have joined the effort to defend the doctrine of Islam and its Sharia," the associations said.
Talat Fehmi, a spokesperson for the Muslim Brotherhood, told Anadolu Agency that the organisation denies all accusations made by the council.
"The Brotherhood ... is far from violence, terror and tearing apart the ummah. Since its establishment, it has been calling people to Allah with good advice," Fehmi said.
The Brotherhood was blacklisted by Egyptian authorities in 2013 after the ouster of Mohamed Morsi - Egypt’s first democratically elected president - in a military coup led by current President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.