In Pakistan, some are slapping pro-Islamic State bumper stickers on their cars and writing chalk graffiti on walls exhorting young people to join the terrorist group.

In China, the government fears that Muslim Uighurs — a restive ethnic minority in the country's far west — have sought terrorist training from the Islamic State to establish a breakaway country.

In eastern Mali, an Islamic State-affiliated group called "Soldiers of the Caliphate in the Land of Algeria" has taken over much of Gao province, inflicting severe punishments for breaches of the Quran, like drinking alcohol. Those militants beheaded a French tourist in Algeria last month after France refused to halt its participation in U.S.-led airstrikes against the group in Iraq.

"The situation gets more and more complicated as our region becomes the stronghold of radical Islamists who only use violence to express their will," said Mamadou Idrissa, a businessman in Gao. "Our life has turned into a nightmare."

After its lightning takeover of a third of Iraq and Syria this summer, the Islamic State appears to be spreading its influence across much of the Muslim world and even in such non-Muslim countries as Australia and India.

"The Islamic State's appeal extends beyond the Middle East," said Fawaz Gerges, a professor of contemporary Middle East studies at the London School of Economics and Political Science. "Their strategy is anchored on the simple premise that it is a winning horse. It has promised the entire ummah — the Muslim community — that it could deliver victory and salvation."

The formation of the U.S.-led coalition trying to destroy the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria only enhances the legitimacy of the militant group, Gerges said.

But the Islamic State has limited capabilities outside its sanctuaries in Iraq and Syria, said Rick Nelson, an analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

"They have globalized rhetoric," Nelson said, "As far as an aggressive overseas campaign, I don't think the evidence is there."

The group is effective at whipping up support through social media. It has sent emissaries to jihadist groups in North Africa and elsewhere, said William McCants, an analyst at the Brookings Institution. He said the Islamic State wants to build a global presence, but that will take time.

The Pentagon said it has no evidence that Islamic State militants are planning to attack targets in the United States, but if left unchecked the group could pose a direct threat to the U.S. and other Western countries.

The Islamic State's popularity among some groups seems to be growing.

In Mali, Abu Othman, a former member of the Islamist group Ansar Dine, or "Defenders of the Faith" in Arabic, explained the appeal: The group's aggression was simply payback for past oppression against Muslims.

"Violence was not condemned by the people when Muslims were massacred by Christians in central Africa," Othman said. "So it goes without saying that the violence perpetrated by the Islamic State against the Christians is only one measure of retaliation."

Pakistan denies that the Islamic State made inroads into the nuclear-armed country, where sectarian violence, political instability and tensions with its non-Muslim neighbor, India, have long raised concerns among Western leaders.

"I have seen media reports that some pamphlets have been found in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa," said Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam, referring to a mountainous area of Pakistan formerly called North West Frontier province. "We have not seen any evidence of their presence on our territory."

​But Pakistan is fertile territory for the Islamic State, particularly among al-Qaeda sympathizers who have seen the terrorist group's networks weakened over the past decade, analysts said.

"I don't think it will take long for the Islamic State to develop a base from disgruntled ex-al-Qaeda militants," said Ahmed Rashid, an analyst who has written about extremism in the region.

Talat Masood, a retired lieutenant general and independent defense expert in Islamabad, said Pakistan could become a battleground between the Islamic State and various rivals vying for power in the country.

"Power struggles between al-Qaeda and the Islamic State can aggravate the level of violence," Masood said. "There is no doubt that we will see a dangerous battle of influence developing between these two in which many innocent people will die."

In neighboring India — where Prime Minister Narendra Modi is wary of the threat from Islamist extremists in Pakistan — reports abound of Islamic State activity.

In August, the death of Islamic State fighter Arif Ejaz Majeed, a Muslim civil engineering student from suburban Mumbai, made headlines in India.

In the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, around 24 Indian Muslims were photographed wearing pro-Islamic State T-shirts. In the northern state of Srinagar, masked youths were filmed waving Islamic State flags.

"While the threat from Pakistan-based jihadist organizations remains current, India is also witnessing the rise of self-motivated, ideologically inspired, homegrown jihadists," said Tufail Ahmad, director of the South Asia Studies Project at the Middle East Media Research Institute in Washington.

Uighurs (WEE-gurs) in China are similarly organizing.

"They not only want to get training in terrorist techniques, but also to expand their connections in international terrorist organizations through actual combat to gain support for more terrorist activities in China," the Global Times newspaper, the Communist Party's mouthpiece, said recently.

Australia plans to ban its citizens from traveling to Islamic State-controlled territories, like Raqqa in northern Syria. European countries, which suspect hundreds if not thousands of citizens have joined the Islamic State, have started cracking down on travel to that region.

Raqqa was the scene of a now infamous photograph of a young boy holding the severed head of a Syrian government soldier that reportedly was taken this year.

"My unambiguous message to all Australians who fight with terrorist groups is that you will be arrested, prosecuted and jailed for a very long time," Prime Minister Tony Abbott told Parliament last month. "Our laws are being changed to make it easier to keep potential terrorists off our streets,"

Racelma reported from Tizi Ouzou, Algeria. Contributing: Janelle Dumalaon in Berlin, Caesar Mandal in Kolkata, India, and Jim Michaels, USA TODAY, in Washington.

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