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Indian University cancels the outlined talks with American's plans

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Indian University Cancels Planned Talks
MUMBAI - Amina Wadud, an American scholar who has spoken widely on women's role in Islam, has said that the lectures she was scheduled to give last week to students and faculty at the University of Madras, in Chennai, were canceled after the organiser said the police were concerned about maintaining law and order.

On Thursday, in a telephone interview from the southern Indian city of Kozhikode, where she is staying Dr. Wadud said that P.K. Abdul Rahiman, an assistant professor at the university's Center for Islamic Studies, the event's organiser, had told her "some development" with the police would prevent the lectures.

Mr. Rahiman confirmed that the police had contacted him to say they were "anticipating a law and order problem" if Dr. Wadud spoke. Mr. Rahiman said he had subsequently received a text message from the authorities saying that the "police can not allow this considering law and order. Please take action to suspend/cancel the program."

The police said a previous appearance by Dr. Wadud had led to an "incident" in Tamil Nadu, the state where the university is located, though Dr. Wadud said she had not visited the area before.

R. Thandavan, the university's vice chancellor, dismissed allegations that the lectures had been canceled over fears of protests, as was reported in the local news media. He said the university authorities initially had "no knowledge" of the lectures until the police inquired about Dr. Wadud's tourist visa.

Defending his decision to cancel the lectures, he said the Center for Islamic Studies did not obtain his approval prior to inviting a "foreign national to the university." Dr. Wadud, an authority on the Koran and gender within Islam, is a retired Virginia Commonwealth University professor who has lectured around the world.

She made headlines in 2005 for leading a Muslim prayer service for men and women at a New York City church after she could not find a mosque willing to accommodate a mixed-gender event. "I'm feeling a little disappointed as to why is it that I seem to create a problem," Dr. Wadud said of the canceled lectures.

He also added- "I have spent 10 months in India and have been invited to give talks at other universities. There's been no problem."

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