Qaddafi gives lesson on Islam to models in Italy...
It doesn't get much weirder than this...
Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi gave a lesson on Islam and copies of the Quran to a few hundred young Italian women Sunday as he arrived in Rome for his fourth visit in a year.I wonder how the private meetings went...
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 modeling 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.
"It was a really beautiful meeting and went very well," she said. "He is very easygoing and he gave us a copy of the Quran. 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 marks the second anniversary of a friendship treaty in which Italy agreed to pay Libya $5 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 $75) by the same modeling agency to attend. Then, too, he gave a lecture on Islam and handed out copies of the Quran.
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 criticized Islam's treatment of women but also suggested male relatives should decide if a woman can drive.