When Muammar Gaddafi went to speak at the U.N. General Assembly in September, he drew controversy — he was protested, shut out of local housing, and his nearly two-hour speech was disparaged in the news. But the Libyan leader may have found a new way to speak his message to the people.
While attending a U.N. global food summit in Rome, Gaddafi reportedly brought some 200 women to a local villa, where he lectured them for two hours about his country and women’s roles in the Islamic faith.An ad quoted in the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera requested the attendance of “500 attractive girls between 18 and 35 years old, at least 1.70 meters (5 foot, 7 inches) tall, well-dressed but not in mini-skirts or low cut dresses.” Women were promised a party at the villa, 60 euros (about $90), and gifts.
Undercover reporter Paola Lo Mele took part and said that Gaddafi attempted to convert the women to Islam, giving them a copy of the Koran and even vowing to be their spiritual guide. “Eventually, he would have supported us in the ritual trip to Mecca,” Lo Mele told Al Jazeera.
Some women said they found Gaddafi’s language during the lecture offensive and anti-Christian. He allegedly claimed that it was not Jesus, but “someone who looked like him” who was crucified in the Bible. But others were simply turned off by the lack of manners.
“It was anything but the VIP party we were expecting,” said one attendee. “They didn’t even give us a glass of water.”