This is a political statement as much as a religious one, since Islam has and always has had a political character. Another take on this story. “Europe should convert to Islam: Gaddafi,” from AFP, August 31:
ROME: Libyan leader Moamer Gaddafi’s visit to Rome to mark the second anniversary of a friendship treaty with former coloniser Italy stumbled into controversy on Monday after he said Europe should convert to Islam.
Gaddafi made the comments on Sunday during a lecture to a group of 500 young women hired and paid by an agency to attend his lecture.
“Islam should become the religion of all of Europe,” one of the women quoted Gaddafi as saying in the Italian press.
The agency paid the women, mainly students who hire themselves out for advertising of publicity events, 70 or 80 euros (90 or 100 dollars) to attend and said it would not pay girls who gave their names to the press.
It also told them to dress conservatively for the lectures.
About 200 women on Monday gathered at the Libyan cultural centre in Rome to attend a second lecture.
One of the women present said that Gaddafi had said at the gathering that “women are more respected in Libya than in the West” and offered assistance in finding Libyan husbands.
“Islam is the last religion and if we are to have a single faith then it has to be in Mohammed,” he said, according to the participant….