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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Gadhafi's religious views: Sunni side up or scrambled?

(Gadhafi in 2009)

Although reportedly the last thing Gadhafi said to those who killed him was in reference to Islamic law (“Don’t you know right from wrong?”), his words seemed more driven by self-defense than piety.  Considering previous reports of Gadhafi’s politics-as-usual approach to religion, this might come as no surprise.

According to CNN’s Dan Mercia and Alex Zuckerman, “the role Islam played in Gadhafi’s personal life and leadership remains shrouded in mystery and debated by scholars.”  Although Gadhafi claimed to be a Sunni Muslim, Assistant Professor of Religion Kelly Pemberton was quoted as saying:  My sense is Gadhafi’s religion was Gadhafism.  Mercia and Zuckerman also reported this quote from Harris Zafar from the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA:  When it comes to Gadhafi, even Sunni clerics have declared fatwas to kill him…  He has always been this renegade…  He almost made his own little brand.  

This “own little brand” of “Gadhafism” expressed itself in some highly unusual ways.  Reuters reported in March 2007 that Gadhafi
had announced at a mass prayer meeting in Niger that “Christianity
is not a faith for people in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas,” and that “it was a mistake to believe that Jesus had been crucified and killed.”  Gadhafi then insisted that “another man resembling Jesus was crucified in his place.”  

A Daily Mail article titled Gadaffi’s Girls: When in Rome… colonel orders in 500 beauties but there’s no booze and definitely no hanky panky describes a reception that Gadhafi hosted in Rome for 500 Italian women.  The women who were recruited for this occasion had to be “at least 5 ft 7 in, aged between 18 and 35, and should not wear mini skirts or plunging necklines, although high heels were OK.”  After first assembling at a hotel, they were then transported to the Libyan ambassador’s residence.  They were met an hour later by Gadhafi himself, who proceeded to “lecture them on the superiority of Islam.”  Each of the women were given a copy of the Qur’an, as well as a “signed version of his Green Book on democracy
and political philosophy.”

There were reportedly no “strange bedfellows” that evening - aside from politics and religion…  


Copyright October 22, 2011 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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