JIDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA, SEPT. 13 -- The Moslem World League, after three days of heated debate among top Islamic scholars, has approved Saudi Arabia's decision to call in U.S. troops to help defend the kingdom but called for the creation of a pan-Islamic force to replace them as quickly as possible.

Reporting on a special league meeting that ended Wednesday in the Islamic holy city of Mecca, Secretary General Abdullah Omar Naseef said the presence of non-Moslem, mainly American, forces here had been "the main issue" among the 350 Islamic scholars, thinkers and religious leaders attending.

The league found justification for a Moslem nation calling for non-Moslem assistance in extreme circumstances such as Saudi Arabia faced after Iraq's occupation of Kuwait Aug. 2, said Naseef.

But the secretary general said this had been "a controversial issue" and risked becoming one that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein could exploit to turn Moslems against Saudi Arabia and the United States if the troops remained very long.

"The conference says that since it is an emergency situation, it is allowed but requests that as soon as the reasons for its presence are removed they should be withdrawn," said Naseef.

The U.S. presence, he said at an airport press conference here today, is the "common worry among the {Arab and Moslem} public in the streets" because of the U.S. "strategic treaty" with Israel and its backing for the Jewish state on all issues of importance to Moslems.

Forty-four Moslem countries and the Palestine Liberation Organization are members of the League, which is based in Mecca, led by a Saudi and heavily influenced by the Saudis -- making the expression of such strong sentiment about the U.S. presence worrisome to the government here.

Saudi officials did not hide their concern that the conflict with Iraq might drag on for months without any resolution, giving Saddam opportunity to whip up anti-American sentiment among Moslems.

Naseef, a native of Jiddah, referred to this concern when asked by a Western reporter what the reaction of participants had been to the prospect of a long-term American presence in the region.

Naseef said the conference had called upon Moslem countries to send troops to Saudi Arabia "so we don't need non-Moslems there" and for the formation of a pan-Islamic force under the Islamic Conference Organization. He said the scholars agreed that if the U.S. and other Western forces now involved had come under the auspices of the United Nations "there wouldn't have been any problem."

"People would have accepted because all Moslem countries have signed the charters of the United Nations," he said.

Naseef seemed to be criticizing Saudi Arabia's decision to call for American help when he commented that "because it came individually," the public in other Moslem countries became confused and upset. He also blamed the media in the United States, which he said mounted "the wrong campaign and coverage" and "made people agitated and they thought there was another colonial force coming in."

Saudi officials explained that the Saudi government was so concerned about the impact of Iraqi propaganda in the Arab world that it had decided to bring top Sunni religious scholars to Mecca and Medina to prove that Iraqi reports of U.S. troops defending the two holy cities were false.

The league scholars were taken on bus tours of the two cities to show that there were no U.S. troops there. The Saudi hope is that they will then take this message back to their countries to help combat the Iraqi propaganda.

The Moslem World League is planning a publication documenting from the Koran and the sayings of the Prophet Mohammed that a nation has the religious right in emergencies to call upon non-Moslem forces.

Naseef said the 350 scholars came from 80 countries and included the rector of the Al Azhar University in Cairo, Sheik Gad Haq Ali Gad; Sheik Abdulaziz bin Baz, Saudi Arabia's top religious authority; Abdul Rasul Sayyaf, prime minister of the interim government declared by the Afghan insurgency; and the Islamic leaders from Lebanon, Syria, and Egypt.

The league called upon the Moslem world to return to fundamental Islamic principles to solve the current crisis. It also approved 15 resolutions urging Iraq to withdraw from Kuwait unconditionally, restore its legitimate government and respect treaties and non-Moslems, particularly diplomats.

The meeting also discussed who has the right to call for a jihad, or holy struggle. First Saddam and on Wednesday Iran's religious leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, have called for holy war against the U.S. presence in Saudi Arabia and in other Persian Gulf states.

Naseef said the scholars agreed that "the jihad is under the banners of Islam. It cannot be done by just anybody."

There were "no justifications" for Khamenei's call, said Naseef, adding, "I don't believe anybody will listen to it seriously."

Khamenei is a religious leader of the minority Shiite sect of Islam, while the scholars attending the Moslem World League conference all are majority Sunnis.

The conference generally agreed that the exiled Kuwaiti leadership had the right, "from a religious point of view," to declare a jihad to oust Iraqi troops and to ask for help "from Moslem brothers and sisters all over the world," said Naseef.