Muammar Gaddafi disappointed some 200 Italian women after he invited them using an agency advertizing a "party" where the Libyan leader proceeded to lecture them on Islam, Italian media reported on Monday.
The ad, by the Hostessweb agency, was very specific in the kind of woman that should attend and read: "Seeking 500 attractive girls between 18 and 35 years old, at least 1.70 meters (5 foot, 7 inches) tall, well-dressed but not in mini-skirts or low cut dresses."
Some 200 women showed up at a Rome villa, having been told they would receive €60 ($90) and "some Libyan gifts." Among them was an undercover reporter for Italian news agency ANSA, who took photos and described the evening's proceedings.
The reporter described how the ladies answered the ad expecting to attend a lavish party but were instead told to wait in a large hall until the arrival of Gaddafi, who gave them a lesson on Libya and the role of women in Islam.
Italian press reported that the Libyan leader explained it was "untrue that Islam is against women" and said in the West women "have often been used as pieces of furniture, changed whenever it pleases men. And this is an injustice."
To the dismay of those present the lecture lasted for around two hours, including a Q&A session, and concluded at midnight with an exhortation by Gaddafi to "convert to Islam" and with each woman given a copy of the Quran and a book of sayings by Gaddafi, called the Green Book.
"It was anything but the VIP party we were expecting, they didn't even give us a glass of water," one attendee told ANSA.
Others said they were offended by what they considered anti-Christian aspects of his lesson, such as when Gaddafi recounted how Muslims do not believe Jesus was crucified but God replaced him with a lookalike and took Jesus up to heaven to save him from the torture.
The Libyan ambassador told ANSA that Gaddafi was planning other similar evenings during his three-day stay in Italy where he is attending the Rome-hosted United Nations food summit.