Friday, March 24, 2006

Gaddafi lashes out at 'backward society' in Middle East

Libyan leader Col Gaddafi, in a speech to attendees at a Columbia University panel discussion on democracy Thursday (speaking in Arabic during a live video appearance) lashed out at what he described as "backward" societies in the Middle East, arguing that government heavy-handedness in dealing with political opposition stemmed from the violent nature of that dissent, reported Asharq Alawsat March 24, 2006. Quotes from the article:

"You ask us, 'Why do you oppress opposition in the Middle East? Opposition in the Middle East is quite different from opposition in advanced countries. In our countries, the opposition takes the form of explosions, assassinations, killing. Because opposition in our country is different from opposition in your country. Our opposition resorts to bombs, assassinations, explosions, subversive acts, trains in military camps -- in some cases before the Sept. 11th events. How many countries have seen this form of opposition. This is a manifestation of social backwardness," said Gadhafi.

Gadhafi said the protests stemming from the publication of cartoons ridiculing Islam's Prophet Muhammad elicited a coarse reaction from all sides. "Our methods are very backward indeed. The methods of opposition in our country are also quite different." "Even when it comes to demonstrations, they are against Muhammad cartoons, they use bullets. You use tear gas or hoses; the police in our countries react in a backward way because they are part of a backward society."

Gadhafi also criticized Islamic fundamentalism and what he said was its blight on education, research and health care. "In a good number of Islamic countries the school curriculum would prohibit many scientific researches," he said. "In some Islamic countries, to see the fetus inside the pregnant woman is prohibited because only God, to some people, knows the gender of that fetus. How could that be prohibited? That is because of backwardness."
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Mar 24 2006 Reuters report says US not ready to remove Libya, Sudan, Cuba, Syria, N Korea, Iran from terrorist list.

Mar 24 2006 Khaleej Times - Libya feels "cheated" that it will remain on the US State Department's list of state sponsors of terrorism this year even though it has made security concessions, the North African country's top envoy to Washington said on Friday.

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