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Libya - Italy

Kadhafi causes controversy on Roman holiday

Photo: Reuters

Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi's visit to Rome to mark the second anniversary of a friendship treaty with former coloniser Italy turned controversial after he is reported to have said Europe should convert to Islam.

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Kadhafi made the comments Sunday during a lecture to 500 young women hired by an agency to attend, according to one of the women attending quoted in the Italian press. He also handed each woman a copy of the Koran.

Opposition lawmaker and former health minister Rosy Bindi called the lecture "a new, humiliating violation of Italian women's dignity".

Ties between Rome and its former colony have deepened since the signing of a treaty in 2008 that includes a much-criticised immigrant deportation deal that dumps illegal immigrants back in Libya.

Olivier Huang is an immigration specialist and professor of the European University Institute in Florence.

He told RFI the immigration treaty is not as successful as the two countries make it out to be:

“There are still some immigrants coming through Libya, and the situation of immigrants in Libya is also not very good, so the issue to be discussed is how to control immigration, as opposed to just banning it through Libya.”

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