The illustrious Gaddafi is day late and a dollar short: Italy just refused to recognize Islam as an official religion (JW)
Libyan leader (terrorist) Â Muammar Gaddafi gave a lesson on Islam and copies of the Koran to a few hundred young Italian women on he arrival in Rome for his fourth visit in a year.
It was the second time the Libyan leader – who travels with female bodyguards and fancies himself a self-styled feminist – had staged such an event for Italian women, who were recruited by a modelling agency and paid an undisclosed sum to attend.
Michela, who asked that her last name not be used, told Associated Press Television News that three of the participants converted to Islam on the spot on Sunday.
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“It was a really beautiful meeting and went very well,” she said. “He is very easygoing and he gave us a copy of the Koran. Three girls converted themselves to Islam during the ceremony. It was a beautiful event.”
Other participants, though, identifying themselves as Roman Catholics in this overwhelmingly Catholic country, said Gaddafi had urged others to convert and had dismissed Christianity as unimportant.
Between 200 and 500 young women attended, arriving in 10 buses at the Libyan ambassador’s residence just as Gaddafi’s plane was landing at Rome’s Ciampino airport at the start of a two-day visit.
The visit, amid steadily improving business ties between Libya and its former colonial ruler, also marked the second anniversary of a friendship treaty in which Italy agreed to pay Libya $US5 billion as compensation for its 30-year occupation, which ended in 1943.
When Gaddafi was in Italy in November for a UN food summit, he hosted 200 young Italian women who had been recruited and paid 50 euros (about $A70) by the same modelling agency to attend. Then, too, he gave a lecture on Islam and handed out copies of the Koran.
This time around, the women wouldn’t say how much they had been paid, only that they had received a small “reimbursement”.
During his first visit to Italy in June 2009, Gaddafi invited 700 prominent Italian businesswomen and female politicians to listen to a lecture in which he criticised Islam’s treatment of women, but also suggested male relatives should decide if a woman can drive.