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One of two outspoken Muslim clerics scheduled to speak at St. Cloud State University this week is unable to attend, the school said today.

The clerics were booked as part of St. Cloud’s Islam Awareness Week, which started Monday.

Siraj Wahhaj was supposed to speak Thursday on the topic “What is Jihad?” The school was unaware of a reason for his inability to participate. Wahhaj was also scheduled to speak to other college student groups in the state this week.

His appearance at the University of Minnesota has also been canceled, said Lolla Mohammed Nur, a U student organizer.

Wahhaj, an American-born imam of a mosque in Brooklyn, N.Y., is on the executive committee of the Muslim Alliance in North America, a network of organizations addressing needs in American Muslim communities.

Scheduled in his place at St. Cloud and the U is imam Hamdy El-Sawaf, secretary-general of the Islamic Jurisprudence Council of Minnesota.

Scheduled in his place is imam Hamdy El-Sawaf, secretary-general of the Islamic Jurisprudence Council of Minnesota.

In 1991, speaking to an Islamic association of Texas, Wahhaj called Operation Desert Storm “one of the most diabolical plots ever in the annals of history,” and that the war to oust Iraq from Kuwait was “part of a larger plan, to destroy the greatest challenge to the Western world, and that’s Islam.”

Wahhaj, while praised for combating drugs in New York and being the first Muslim to offer a prayer to open a session of Congress, has also appeared on a government list of unindicted co-conspirators in the 1993 World Trade Center bombings.

Another American-born Islamic cleric appearing at St. Cloud is Khalid Yasin. He will speak on “Islam: A Way of Life” at 7:15 tonight at the Atwood Memorial Center Ballroom.

Yasin is known for promoting Sharia law, which is the use of Islamic teachings to govern civil life. His critics have contended that he teaches that, among other things, husbands can beat disobedient wives and that gays should be executed.



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