Libyan dictator Colonel Gaddafi asked an escort agency to supply 500 ‘beautiful Italian girls’ for a gala evening at which he tried to convert them to Islam, it emerged today.
The 67-year-old leader also requested that they ‘were aged between 18 and 35 years old, did not wear mini skirts or have plunging necklines but high heels were OK.’
The women, all glamorously dressed, were told to meet at a hotel in the centre of Rome, where Gaddafi is attending a summit on world food security, before being taken to the Libyan ambassador’s residence in the city.
Women recruited to attend a reception held by the Libyan leader leave with copies of the Koran
Clutching their gifts, the women board a bus waiting for them after the event in Rome last night
The girls, a mixture of blondes and brunettes dressed in heels, stockings and three-quarter length coats, were seen queuing up to go through security checks. Several of them were turned away after being told they were inappropriately dressed or they were too short.
Once inside - and after an hour’s delay - Gaddafi arrived in a white limousine to lecture the girls on the superiority of Islam.
He also gave a talk on the Muslim Koran and gave all the girls a copy as a gift as well as a signed version of his Green Book on democracy and political philosophy, written in 1975.
Bizarre: One of the models displays the Koran and Green Book given to her by Colonel Gaddafi. The Green Book is the leader's views on democracy and his political philosophy.
The all-female event took place at the same time as other leaders’ wives were attending a forum to discuss food poverty, led by Suzanne Mubarak, wife of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
The event in Rome has attracted several world leaders.
But Britain, the United States, Russia and other economic powerhouses are absent from the three-day summit being held by the Food and Agriculture Organisation.
Gaddafi has a habit of making bizarre requests when travelling abroad - usually it is for a Bedouin tent to be pitched in the grounds of a park.
And on an earlier visit to Rome this year he asked to speak to an audience of businesswomen.
However, this time, his lecture did not go down well with many of the girls, who were also given a €50 cash tip.
Many of them complained they ‘felt offended as women and for their religion’.
One blonde woman who did not give her name said: ‘I was particularly offended when he said we believed that Christ had been crucified but he hadn’t, instead it was someone who looked like him and that God had saved Christ.’
Glamorous: The women were told not to wear mini skirts to the gala - but the dictator insisted 'heels are OK'While another girl said: ‘I thought we were going to a party - we didn’t even get a glass of water or some salty snacks.’
But Alessandro Londero, of Rome-based Hostessweb, who claims his agency is ‘one of the biggest in Europe with more than 65,000 girls’ on its books, insisted: ‘It was a very enjoyable experience and the girls were captivated by the evening.
‘Some of them have already been in touch with me to express an interest in going to Libya and seeing the place for themselves and speaking further with Gaddafi about converting to Islam.
‘He gave the girls Italian translations of the Koran and of his Green Book and he said he would be in touch with them to test them and make sure they had read them.
‘One thing I do want to stress is that none of the girls spent the night there - I counted them all in and I counted them all out. There was nothing untoward it was simply an interesting evening of discussion.’
Mr Londero said that a similar event had been organised for tonight and tomorrow night.
He added: ‘I don’t know where or what will happen. All I know is that we have to be outside the office and coaches will pick the girls up.’
Before the summit today Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who has been involved in a sleaze scandal after escorts were invited to parties at his official residences, embraced Gaddafi.
Gaddafi described Berlusconi as his 'close friend'. In return he told the Libyan dictator, who is famous for his long speeches: 'Just five minutes please, although we live in hope.'
Surprisingly, Gaddafi did manage to keep his speech to just ten minutes.
He said that 'all promises at previous summits had been in vain' but he praised Italy for 'playing a significant role in fighting food security'.
Haffed Gadur, Libya’s ambassador to Italy, said: ‘The colonel wanted to meet the Italian girls to simply tell them that Islam was not against women.’