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Gaddafi says only Islam a universal religion

Most people’s attention is rightly on the 15 British servicemen and women held in Iran.  But meanwhile elsewhere in dar al Islam normal dawa continues.  In this report from Reuters it is the turn of Colonel Gaddafi of Libya, no stranger to holding hostages, and protecting the murderers of an English policewoman.  Today he has gone to Niger to preach. I thought he was a colonel, not a clergyman, but there is of course no separation of mosque and state in Islam.

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi said on Friday that it was a mistake to believe that Christianity was a universal faith alongside Islam.

"There are serious mistakes -- among them the one saying that Jesus came as a messenger for other people other than the sons of Israel," he told a mass prayer meeting in Niger.  "Christianity is not a faith for people in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas. Other people who are not sons of Israel have nothing to do with that religion," he said at the prayer meeting, held to mark the birth of the prophet Mohammed.

Gaddafi, who is seeking to expand his influence in Africa, said his arguments came from the Koran. He led similar prayers last year in Mali

There is only one religion which is Islam after Mohammed," he said in the sermon, which was broadcast live on Libyan state television.  "All those believers who do not follow Islam are losers,"   Gaddafi also said it was a mistake to believe that Jesus had been crucified and killed. "It is not correct to say that. Another man resembling Jesus was crucified in his place."  Why?

Libya grants financial aid to Islamic communities in Africa and elsewhere to build mosques, Islamic schools and facilities.  Libyan state television often shows Gaddafi meeting groups of African men or women telling him they converted to Islam.

The mass prayers, chaired by Gaddafi, came a day after Arab leaders wrapped up a summit in Saudi Arabia. Libya was the only Arab state to shun the gathering. "Libya has turned its back on the Arabs ... Libya is an African nation. As for Arabs, may God keep them happy and far away," Gaddafi has said to explain his boycott of the summit.

Dissention in the ranks, jolly good.