StarTribune.com

Outspoken imams to speak at St. Cloud State

March 31, 2008http://www.startribune.com/local/17160056.htmlSiraj Wahhaj

 

 

Two Muslim clerics with outspoken backgrounds are among the speakers at St. Cloud State University’s Islam Awareness Week, which starts today.One of them is Siraj Wahhaj, who will speak on “What is Jihad?” at 2 p.m. Thursday in the Atwood Memorial Center Theatre.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.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 p.m. Wednesday 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.

Islam Awareness Week is being sponsored by the school’s Muslim Student Association. For more on the conference, visit www.startribune.com/a4204.

–PAUL WALSH

 

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