Qadhafi interview on Arab TV
 
Interview with Libyan Leader al-Qadhafi by Hamdi Qandil in the Sirte Conference Center,
followed by telephone question and answer session.
Broadcast live Libyan Television Network in Arabic 2028 GMT 29 Aug 97.
 
 

Qandil: Welcome. In today's program which I present to you from Libya, my guest tonight is Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, leader of the revolution, to whom I express my gratitude for honoring me with this meeting on the occasion of the anniversary celebrations of al Fateh Revolution.

[Passage omitted -- Al- Qadhafi talking about his life, upbringing, and preparations for 1 September revolution]

Qandil: We were talking in the previous part about those who were confronting you and the means they used to confront you during the weeks preceding the revolution. You are now facing a different kind of conspiracy from, at least, groups which call themselves Islamic groups, these are Islamic extremist groups, which have been active, from what we have learned from press sources, and have carried out sabotage actions and conspiracy against the government. That coincided with repeated statements against terrorism by officials in Libya. You have cooperated with other security quarters with regard to fighting terrorism.

I will mention among these a high-ranking Libyan security official who went to Egypt to strengthen security cooperation between the two countries. What is the reason behind these security moves, i.e. cooperation in anti- terrorism? Is it because of the activity of Islamic extremist groups in the country or is to deny the [allegation], which was spread by Western sources themselves, that you are the one who encourages international terrorism?

Qadhafi:  There is a great confusion with regard to this topic in the Arab arena itself. What is said about fundamentalism is not right. Fundamentalism is not violence and is not terrorism. We are the advocates of fundamentalism and those who nurture it. We are the ones who revived it and the Libyan revolution is considered as responsible for the revival of fundamentalism and awakening in the Islamic world.

We are those who rescued the Islamic world because the latter must get rid of the [word indistinct] of Western colonialism and return to its origin. The Arab nation is the heart of the Islamic world even though not all Muslims are Arabs. Fundamentalism is something and what is taking place is something else and is not Islamic terrorism or Islamic extremism. There is nothing called Islamic terrorism or Islamic extremism.

The radios of America, Britain, the Western states and Israel are the ones which say this is Islamic terrorism and Islamic extremism, with the intention of destroying Islam. They say: See, this is Islam, Islam means killing children, as is happening in Algeria now: murdering women and burning their bodies and blind killing and revenge without aim or program or distinction.

[They say] the Libyan revolution stands against America and colonialism by the side of freedom and unity, so go and declare jihad against it. Egypt is the greatest nation [in the Arab world] and Algeria is a dynamic state in North Africa, so declare jihad against them. This does not happen in the non-Arab Islamic countries. This movement has nothing to do with Islam and I regret that Arab radios talk with all ignorance about Muslim extremists, Islamic extremism, and armed Islamic groups. These have nothing to do with Islam.

[Passage omitted on heretics issue and Russian-Afghan war]

 America pushed those foolish Arabs to go to Afghanistan to defend it on its behalf. They went to fight on America's behalf. America wanted the Soviet Union out of Afghanistan and [words indistinct] what it called then Arab mujahidin, they fought for America not for God and they actually went there to fight the Soviet Union. I wish Afghanistan had become communist, the situation in the world would have been much better than it is now. America is dominating the world and doing whatever it wishes with it.

[Passage omitted] The simple-minded Arabs fought for America in Afghanistan. The American CIA oversaw [the training of] those foreigners [Arabic: shudhadh al-afaq], those simple-minded people who [words indistinct]. After the issue of Afghanistan ended, America told them: Now, you go back and launch jihad in your countries.

All right, if Libya, Algeria, Egypt, or Tunisia or any other country deserves to have jihad, why did you go to Afghanistan, why did you not announce jihad in these countries? This means that the idea of "go back to your country and announce jihad" was a new one which came after recruiting the Arab mujahidin in Afghanistan. They set up training camps for them and told them: Now we have finished with you, go to your countries and announce jihad. America is still behind this and the focus is on the important Arab countries, on Egypt, Algeria, Libya and [other] important countries in the Arab world. Undoubtedly this is a movement of heresy.

Qandil: Does the only danger come from groups, which you rightly call groups of heretics, who come from Afghanistan? It has been said recently that there is tension in relations between Libya and Sudan. I suppose that there is a danger coming from that state.

What has been said is that there are 700 Libyan students, who were either sent there to study or went there under the pretext of studying, who are receiving military training from the so-called Afghan mojahedin and some officials in Sudan to prepare them for going to Libya to act against you. President Mubarak said recently that the Khartoum government was sending terrorists to Libya; however, the Sudanese government denied that. What is the exact situation?

Qadhafi:  No, no, first of all there is nothing at all which causes any tension between Libya and Sudan. There is no such thing as the story about 700 students. We have students who are studying in Sudan and some of them are members of revolutionary committees and have nothing to do with that matter. The small groups who were enlisted were [recruited] from Libya. Their number is limited to dozens and not hundreds.

Those were deceived and taken to Saudi Arabia and from there they were taken to Peshawar where they were enlisted and trained on orders from the American intelligence. As they fought, on behalf of America, in Afghanistan, they fight in Libya, on behalf of America; in Egypt, on behalf of the Israelis and the Americans; and in Algeria, on behalf of France, America, and the Israelis. They are still the soldiers of the American intelligence. There is no such thing as the story of Sudan training them.

Qandil: I would like to move on to your recent visit to Niger and Nigeria. A written pledge of allegiance was presented to you there which was called Leader of the World Islamic Popular Leadership. It has been reported that you will also receive a pledge of allegiance from Muslims in Asia. It has been said, or maybe it was you who said: My brother, Louis Farrakhan, the leader of Black American Muslims, as my assistant in the leadership, is in charge on behalf of the World Islamic Popular Leadership of obtaining the allegiance of Muslims in America. Has there been a pledge of allegiance from world Muslims to Mu'ammar al- Qadhafi?

Qadhafi:  We will talk about what has actually happened. When I led the evening prayers for millions of Muslims in the Niger capital Niamey, that night, Friday night, before I moved to Kano -- and this was documented, on audio and video, and all the world saw it -- I received delegations from all over Africa presenting their allegiance, and those who could not make it that night followed us to Nigeria and presented their allegiance there. This was documented by all the Muslims in the African continent.

In Kano, millions marched to Kano and performed prayers behind me. They had to close the roads leading to Kano. [Passage omitted: more in the same vein] If I had asked those millions to march toward Europe, they would have marched. If I had asked them to march toward Jerusalem, they would have done so. If I had asked them to march in any direction I am sure they would have followed me until the end.

[Passage omitted: recalling the Sudanese historic figure al-Mahdi who overcame the British army; the support al-Qadhafi received in Africa was spontaneous; al-Qadhafi received messages from Muslims in Asia inviting him to pray there as the Muslims in Africa did]

Similarly, this applies to American Muslims and the brother Louis Farrakhan, who is my assistant in the World Islamic Popular Leadership.

Qandil: Brother leader, you announced the donation of $1 billion to Louis Farrakhan, and to the Nation of Islam in America in general, for improving the conditions of American blacks in America. It has been said also that among the main aims of that financial support was to set up a lobby, a group of influence who supports the Arab causes in order to fight the Zionist lobby.

However, instead of having a pro-Arab lobby, your announcement of that help for black Muslims made the Congress rise against you and the Arabs, and perhaps made all whites in America rise against us. Naturally, I find that it is very ironic that the American administration accepts donations for elections from any source -- and they do not find it embarrassing at all to host people in Lincoln's suite in the White House, who was the one who liberated the blacks, in the White House. People spend nights there and donate money to the American administration and the American elections -- and then they turn the world upside down when al-Qadhafi gives a donation to blacks. Brother leader, I return to my question: Did the announcement of that donation contribute to what you were wishing or was it...

Qadhafi: interrupting: There is no such thing as a donation at all. There is support resulting from our relations with that group which date from the time after the revolution, from the days of Elijah Muhammad, who was the spiritual father of the Nation of Islam in North America. We granted him a loan at the time and he paid it back. They built mosques and projects for the benefit of the Nation of Islam's groups with that loan which they paid back. From that time, the name of Libya has been linked to that group, and there has been a claim that Libya supports that group financially and so on.

The matter they are talking about is al-Qadhafi's prize for human rights which includes a reward whose amount is $1 million, and not $1 billion. The Americans prevented them from obtaining that million dollars. They told him that nothing can be received from Libya. The Americans themselves do not allow him to get money from Libya -- even the prize, which is an international one, I am not the one who awarded it as it was granted by an international committee and not a Libyan one, as it might include just one Libyan.

That committee is the one who decides to whom the prize should be awarded, just as it has been decided to award it this year to five women from the world's various continents. The prize includes a reward of $1 million and that was what he declared. Despite that, the American government prevented him from receiving $1 million.

Qandil: Brother leader, if I may say so, it seems that with this prize you are rather provoking the feelings of the Western world?

Qadhafi:  We do not care if their feelings were provoked. Let their nerves get racked, God willing, what we are interested in is justice. [Passage omitted: He reiterates that Libya supports black Americans, Aborigines, Red Indians, the Kurds, and all oppressed people; he praises black people, reviewing the prevalence of different races throughout history; he recalls the theory that Red Indians are originally Libyans, the history of Arab invasions, and the discovery of America]

Qandil: At the conference in Tripoli of the leaders of the five African states, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, Chad, [and Libya] and the recent summit conference, you told the conferees that the natural place of Africans and their main interests lie in the Arabization of the African continent. Were they convinced by those statements?

Qadhafi:  No, I did not talk about the Arabization of the African continent. I consider language as a bulwark, an enclosure, and a shield which protects a nation. [Passage omitted: on languages in Africa and the origin of Berbers and others]

Qandil: We know that at the recent surprise African mini-summit in Tripoli, you opened up perspectives for the countries that took part in it, and offered them the use of 2,000 km of the Libyan coast to have a door on the world.

Qadhafi:  But look at the Arab hesitation. The Arabs cannot even convene a summit conference. They hesitate as if this would mean a trip to Saturn.

Qandil: By God, precisely, I was about to ask you a question on this. Brother leader, did you turn your attention to Africa after your hopes were dashed to see the realization of Arab unity, and integration with Egypt, Sudan, Syria, Algeria, Morocco, and others? Is your turning toward the African continent a result of frustration in our Arab region?

Qadhafi:  No doubt the Arabs need to be provoked, because currently they lack seriousness. They want to die without a cost, without resistance. They are offering themselves on a plate to the worthless, to the enemy. If a summit with Netanyahu or the Americans was called, they would have met immediately, but when an Arab summit is called they do not respond.

Good God, only recently the expression "except Iraq" was deleted from Syrian passports. Syrians were allowed to go anywhere in the world except the so- called Israel and Iraq. Only recently they deleted the expression "except Iraq." Was this reasonable? I could not believe it. Imagine, Syria and Iraq, one state, one people, one party. How can an estrangement reach the extent of a mention in passports?

Why should not there be the possibility of a meeting between one Arab and another? Why should not Egypt meet Sudan? Do we need to go to heaven to be able to arrange for an Egyptian-Sudanese summit? Do we need an earthquake to be able to arrange for a Syrian-Iraqi summit? What do we need to arrange for an Arab summit? You can see them, they shy away from a summit, showing convulsions like somebody undergoing a Caesarian operation, unable to give birth to a summit. But summits are immediately convened when it comes to meeting the Israelis or the Americans. This is shameful; they are not serious at all.

The current Arab official regime is a failure, it is impotent, it should disappear. However, I am grateful for the existence of an Arab revival. Quite recently, I met activists from the Arab homeland; the meeting was shown this evening on TV before this interview. It was a unionist force which wanted unity. I have also met a female force representing women from the [Atlantic] Ocean to the Gulf. They were Arab women who wanted unity. We are mobilizing this front to realise Arab unity.

Qandil: Do you think that the Arab Maghreb Union [AMU], which consists of Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, and Mauritania, is realizing part of your dream to attain a comprehensive Arab unity, despite the breaking of relations between you and Mauritania?

Qadhafi:  No, relations are not broken between us and Mauritania. The AMU is in a regrettable state. In AMU countries we have become like children, not rising to the level of responsibility at all. Is this reasonable? We have set up the AMU but we are not holding meetings. Algeria and Morocco do not want to resolve their bilateral problems; Algeria does not want to hand over the chairmanship for the next country; Morocco does not want to attend meetings in Algeria. We have become ridiculous, like children, really.

The Arabs in the AMU should show contempt for this situation, and they should know this situation. How can the AMU be so static? We can't even hold meetings. Every movement the Arabs set up is like a sandcastle. Where is the Arab economic council between Iraq, Jordan, Egypt, and Yemen? It disappeared after the problem of Iraq. Where is the AMU? But we must pay tribute to our brothers in the Gulf, who are still together [the GCC].

Qandil: Is it because of the failure or stumbling of these projects that you have submitted to the Arab League the Arab union project? Is the role of such union different from that of the league, a role that cancels out that of the league?

Qadhafi:  In my view there should be an immediate integration-type Arab union. This should not create any problem at all, and I am not afraid of this. The fear is that such a union would not be set up. The unity of the United Arab Republic [between Egypt and Syria] was a model. It failed because of geographical reasons, because Syria was in Asia while Egypt was in Africa, and between them there was Israel and Jordan who were both against unity. Therefore it failed. Look at Yemen, one territory; when South Yemen seceded, Sanaa was able to reunite the country after four years.

Likewise, if Syria shared the same territory with Egypt, as it did with Jordan, or as does Egypt with Libya and Sudan, then secession would not have succeeded. Secession would have been resisted as a secession of part of the state. Thus unity should be a unified political instrument which unifies both what should be unified immediately and what should be unified after 10 years. But a gradual unity means death for us.

Qandil: From your contacts with the Arab leaders, do you understand that they believe in unity in any form?

Qadhafi:  Yes, they believe in unity; they realise the need for unity and the fact that the there is no future for the Arab nation without unity. They realize that, without unity, we will be fragmented between the superpowers. They realize this but they are afraid of America. This is a fact. America is intervening and is vetoing Arab unity. It has agents who listen to its orders. [Passage omitted: asked whether the fact that the campaign against some Arab leaders has subsided means that the Libyan revolution is now more realistic, al-Qadhafi says yes, and then speaks about his union project already tabled to the Arab League: it will be an Arab higher union council chaired by Arab leaders in turn, so that no one will lose power or status]

Qandil: In addition to their interest in such an integration-type unity which, if realized, will make many things easier for them and will enable them to have a prosperous future, the Arab nationals are also interested in being able to live, work, and invest in any Arab country. This reminds me of your call or invitation, which we announced in our ART TV program, for Arabs to come to Libya to work, invest, and own property. What was the echo of this call of yours?

Qadhafi:  Our calls are made through the Libyan brotherhood bureaus in the Arab homeland. They receive and examine candidates. I mean, welcome to any Arab national who comes to Libya to reside permanently. But if they come and return then they are considered as foreign workers who come even from Turkey. But welcome to anyone who wants to reside permanently in Libya. We do not ask him to forego his nationality of origin; he sticks to his nationality of origin which we will consider as Arab nationality.

Qandil: Brother leader, a short while ago you mentioned an Arab summit. Is there really a need for an Arab summit at this moment? A few days ago 'Arafat called for the convening of an Arab summit aimed at facing up to the serious deterioration of the peace process. He also asked that Iraq be present in this summit. For his part, a month ago the Iraqi President called for an Arab summit to discuss the Palestinian question exclusively, without empty talk, reproaches, recriminations, and accusations. Obviously, he means the differences that followed the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.

You have called for a summit aimed at discussing the situation in the region and how the region will enter the 21st century. You said that the summit would have nothing to do with the Middle East, Palestine, Jerusalem, Jabal Abu Ghunaym, or the surrender process. Brother leader, which of these calls do you believe is closer to acceptance by the Arab states? In other words, which summit?

Qadhafi:  I have received responses. They all agree to a summit and thank Libya for its role in this respect. They say they are ready but preparations should be made. I believe that on 20 September there will be a meeting of the Arab foreign ministers who might then fix a date for the summit for which we have called. This will be so, barring a threat or a warning from America, obviously.

[Passage omitted: Qadhafi says shame on the Arab armies who could not stop Israeli tractors in Jerusalem. Asked whether his remark applies to the Libyan army, al-Qadhafi says that there is no regular army in Libya but people are being trained to carry arms. He says that the money spent on Arab armies should be used for social projects]

[Passage omitted: recalling the water issue and the 1967 war]

Qandil: There are military agreements between Turkey and Israel. This made you criticize Turkey sharply especially after the signing of these agreements and the Turkish invasion of northern Iraq. During the visit by Erbakan, the head of the first Islamist government in Turkey in modern history, to Libya and in a news conference in Tripoli you even said that Turkey is a slave of the United States, in Erbakan's presence. Do you now regret the fall of Erbakan at the hands of the military in Turkey?

Qadhafi:  Poor Erbakan, he is weak. He will not do anything. In Turkey power is in the hands of the army. There is absolutely no democracy in Turkey. There is a puppet show. [Passage omitted: listing names of political parties in Turkey] This is all nonsense. The generals rule in Turkey. There is no democracy.

Qandil: There are several plans to establish a new Middle East with Israel, naturally, but sometime they say with Turkey, sometimes without, other times with Iran and sometimes without. Economic cooperation always emerges as a spearhead in all these plans. Now, the economic Middle East forums to be held in Doha, Qatar. Have you decided about taking part in it?

Qadhafi:  We are not concerned with the Middle East. We are not in the Middle East.

Qandil: Are you not concerned from increased American pressure on you after you rejected the Middle East concept especially after Albright announced recently, and in fact warned the Arab countries against missing the Doha forum? You are not afraid of America?

Qadhafi:  This is actually what made all the Arabs say pressure from America, pressure from America. We want to see America's pressure. America bombed us with nuclear bombs. To hell with America.

Qandil: I was so surprised by one single statement you made in which you said that Clinton is a good man. You know what the words good man mean for us Egyptians? Do you mean good man in the Egyptian sense or is he a good man because he has not attacked Libya as Reagan did and bombarded your headquarters and innocent civilians here in Sirte?

Qadhafi:  He is really a good man. He is not evil. He is not vindictive. He wants to spend his days and he wants to get out of the White House and his problems would be finished. He is about to leave the White House. He does not want to do anything that is too risky. He is a good man. We have no black file with him. We have no history with him, as was the case with Reagan who killed our children and hated me personally. He was mad. Thank God he is suffering from the worst diseases now. God is tormenting him in his life. [Passage omitted: Reagan's aides also suffered] Al-Qadhafi's curse, and the curse of Libya and its children is following them, following the Americans and every aggression. Now they believe I am a bad omen. Anyway, we have no problems with Clinton at all. He is a man who came from a small state. He is a young man. He is not from the generation of World War II and he has no colonization ambitions in the world. Yet, he likes to show that he is the President of the United States which can launch a missile, can threaten, and do whatever. Naturally, there are imperialist circles manipulating him. Damn them. They are in the Pentagon, State Department, CIA, National Security Council, and the 400 families of the largest companies. These are the hellish circles manipulating the world in the name of America.

Qandil: The position of all these powers is particularly highlighted by the economic sanctions imposed on Libya, including the ban on air flights. On this occasion, I have a frank position which, I believe, is shared by all Arabs who cannot accept such an embargo which was caused by a case where no evidence was provided concerning the accusations levelled against Libya. I admired your trip to Cairo on board an aircraft, thus violating the sanctions. I admired your trip to Niger and Nigeria even more. [Passage omitted: Qandil tells how he came to Libya by a ferry, from Malta] The current injustice imposed on Libya is revolting. The UN Security Council, which is controlled by the power we know, at its recent session extended the embargo and sanctions against Libya. Your delegate at the United Nations said that Libya reserved for itself the right to take appropriate measures. Brother leader, what are these measures, if one can spell them out?

Qadhafi:  The international regional organizations, I mean the nonaligned countries decided that, if the embargo is not lifted and the problem resolved they would not be bound any longer by the embargo. The Arab League, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, and the Organization of African Unity made the same decision. We are now saying to them to wait a little more, perhaps a solution will be found. But if a solution is not found, then these countries will stop observing the embargo provisions. America and Britain will then lose their dignity, and, despite them, the resolutions will be cancelled. As a matter of fact, these resolutions are bound to be belittled and violated.

Qandil: Will the United Nations be able to do anything? You have urged Kofi Annan, the UN Secretary General, to send a fact-finding delegation to Libya to learn about the suffering of the Libyan people as a result of the embargo imposed on them. How did the Secretary General respond to the call?

Qadhafi : The Secretary General of ...

Qandil :... of the United Nations, Kofi Annan. You have asked him to set up a fact-finding committee to look into the suffering of the Libyan people as a result of the sanctions and the embargo.
 
Qadhafi:  We are waiting.

Qandil: A British delegation visited Libya recently to discuss developments in this issue. The delegation included a former leader of the democratic [as heard] party, a Conservative Party member of the House of Commons, and a representative of the families of the victims of the Lockerbie plane [crash]. The representative of the Lockerbie victims has made a statement to the BBC in which he said that contacts and meetings with Libyan officials were useful. Brother leader: In which way were they useful?

Qadhafi:  Naturally, I heard about the delegation. The important part of it was the personality of Dr. [Jim] Swire of the association of the [families of] Lockerbie victims.

Qandil: Is the British Government... [Pauses] Newspapers recently reported that the British Government -- the British Government, the new Labour Government -- is considering the issue.

Qadhafi: Some new facts have been published. These prove that Libya had nothing to do with Lockerbie.

Qandil: Iran. The statement made by a former Iranian intelligence officer...

Qadhafi: [interrupting] No, no. We cannot accuse a specific state. What concerns me is that Libya is innocent of this charge. This is what makes fresh investigation into the case essential.

Qandil: It has been reported that Abu Mazin, rapporteur of the PLO Executive Committee, had offered to mediate in the Lockerbie crisis. Personally, I was amazed when this was first reported...

Qadhafi {interrupting] What?

Qandil: That the PLO had such good relations and influence with America, while itself needing a mediator to resolve its problems with Israel.
 
Qadhafi:  I read that in a Tunisian newspaper.

Qandil: So, it did not take place?

Qadhafi:  No, I only heard about it in the news.

Qandil: I was amazed, and I thought this was an unreliable report.

Qadhafi:  I wish brother Abu Mazin could resolve the Lockerbie problem. However, Arab kings and presidents have failed, and despite the efforts they have been making, America [words indistinct].

Qandil: Brother leader: Could the embargo have a single positive effect? I am speaking from the point of view that the Libyan people experienced a long period of affluence after the big oil boom and the more favorable distribution of wealth. Would it be possible for them to learn to tighten their belts a little? [Passage omitted: more in the same vein]

Qadhafi:  I wish. We cannot force them to tighten their belts. They have to consider their circumstances, and if these make it necessary for them to tighten their belts, they have to do so. I tightened my belts a long time ago [laughter].

Qandil: About the embargo and regarding the Western states' stance toward you and vice versa. In a recent speech, you criticized France about its continued use of the Reunion island, east of Africa in the Indian Ocean and at a distance of about 10,000 km [from France], and you said something similar about the Falkland Islands which are used by and belong to Britain. Do you need hostility with France now that many Arabs regard it as a friendly state? America is another issue; it is like a hatchet in the New World [order]. Why do you ...

 Qadhafi, interrupting:  Principles and firmly established ideals will remain what they are whatever the situation. Otherwise, one becomes a hypocrite if one changes them on the basis of one's interests. However, I did not mention Reunion in the way described by the French news agency, which was quoted by other agencies. I did not mention it in that way.

I said that if France says Reunion is French because its inhabitants are French, Spain says the Canaries are Spanish because their inhabitants are Spanish although they are thousands of kilometers away [from Spain], and Britain says the Malvinas or the Falklands are British because their inhabitants are English; we could say that Nigeria, Niger, Chad, the Comoros, and [word indistinct] are all Arab because their inhabitants are Arab. I gave an example.

[Passage omitted: criticizing the agencies for misquoting him; al-Qadhafi explains what he means by slogans of the Green Book such as: a house belongs to the one who lives in it, partners not wage-earners, as well as his views on sport activities and nurseries]

Qandil: [passage omitted: remarks on how modern technology enables people to contact each other] I have contacted brother Muhammad al-Ghul, secretary of the Voice of the [Greater] Arab Homeland radio and asked him if it is possible to accommodate, in the last part of our session this evening, questions to be put to the brother leader on issues which I hope are of importance. These questions have been pouring in from all over the Arab homeland and other countries, and from prominent figures. Brother Muhammad [al- Ghul].

Al-Ghul [passage omitted: praise of al-Qadhafi]
We have with us 'Abd-al-Latif 'Arabiyat, former speaker of the Jordanian House of Representatives.

['Arabiyat, by telephone] In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate. First of all, I would like to ask the following questions. [Passage omitted: mostly indistinct question on the last four decades of Arab history]

Qadhafi:  Brother 'Abd-al-Latif is talking about an assessment of the march of the nation during the last four decades. He means from the fifties onwards. The nation was colonized before that stage. The Arab homeland was occupied, and parts of it continued to be occupied after that stage.
 

[Passage omitted: an account of the most important events in Arab history since the 1950s; question by Ahmad Kamal Abu al-Najd, former Egyptian Minister of Information, on Arab disunity, al-Qadhafi's perception of Arab union, and the need for resolving pending issues. Al-Qadhafi's reply focuses on the help offered by Libya to Egypt during the 1973 conflict with Israel, the Camp David agreement, relationship with former Egyptian President Sadat.

Dr. Ya'qub Zayadin, secretary general of the Jordanian Communist Party, praises al-Qadhafi's defense of Arab causes. He questions al-Qadhafi on the effects of the 1 September revolution on Libya, the Arab world, and the whole world, and importance of democracy in the Arab world. Al-Qadhafi highlights Libya's various efforts in the Arab world, Qandil asks about prospects for Arab common market; al-Qadhafi said that the Arab economic council was set up in 1957 and nothing has been achieved.

Ihsan Bakr, editor of the Egyptian daily Al- Ahram, asks about prospect for Arab unity. Al-Qadhafi says Arab union would be achieved by uniting ranks or by revolution; the first option is preferable. Ruhi al-Ba'lbaki, secretary general of the Lebanese writers association, also asks about best way to achieve Arab union. He is referred to al-Qadhafi's previous reply]

Qandil: The next contribution is from Anwar al-Yasin, chief editor of the Kuwaiti Al-Arabi magazine.

[Yasin] [Passage omitted: congratulations to Libyans on September revolution anniversary] I would like to ask the brother colonel whether, in the event of Libya's implementation of the UN Security Council resolutions, the Security Council and the states which oppose [as heard] these resolutions would agree to lift the embargo imposed on the Libyan people and government and allow the export of oil and the take-off and landing of aircraft; in other words, the lifting of the embargo? [Passage omitted: Repeating congratulations on September revolution anniversary]

Qadhafi:  Thank you, brother Anwar. We must not make a mistake in our interpretation of the so-called Lockerbie issue. We face a colonialist situation and the subjugation of our peoples, one after the other. They search for all kinds of pretexts for this colonialist intervention. They are the same old colonialist pretexts. [Passage omitted: Examples drawn from early 20th century history of the region] We are facing a colonialism that is looking for pretexts. They claim that we are gulping down, destroying, weakening, and terrorizing Arab countries. They thought about it, and God sent them Lockerbie; a plane crashed. They blamed Libya. [Passage omitted: Recalling the destruction of Iraq during the Gulf war; Israeli destruction of Lebanon under the pretext of harboring terrorism]

[Al-Ghul] the following is a question by the French thinker Roger Garaudy.

[Garaudy, in French with Arabic translation] In general terms [words indistinct] the Islamic current, or what is called here fundamentalism, I believe that it is a disease which befell Islam, that is the confusion between shari'ah, which is the eternal and universal law common between the faithful as mentioned in the Koran in chapter 42, verse 16, and thought, that is legislation. It is an attempt for the application [of the theory] in every age. The Koran gives us examples based on the eternal principles of shari'ah which are applicable in any and every age and in new historical circumstances to these eternal principles. Therefore, is it not our duty as Muslims to create the 21st century thinking rather than attempting to impose the thinking of the ninth, 10th, or 11th century in this age?

In my view, this question seems important these days as it is being repeated by many Westerners. It would be useful to find an answer for it with fresh ideas as those put forward by Colonel al-Qadhafi. [Passage omitted: Qandil reminds al-Qadhafi that there are only two minutes left to the end of the program; a further 30 minutes are then given]

Qadhafi:  Thank you, Mr. Garaudy. In his view he thinks that heresy is fundamentalism. Fundamentalism is not new. It is the basics, the fundamentals of the religion. It is what we have always followed. What exists now is really a disease, of which Islam is innocent, along with the heresy, which wore the dress of Islam. It is what explodes bombs, assassinates and kills children. It is those who once called themselves the militant Islamic group [Jama't Islamiyah], once Jihad, once Society for Repentance and Flight from Sin [Takfir wa al-Hijrah].

These names are of course foreign to Islam and the Arabs. This is the movement of heresy, which gives these names to the Islamic group. The Islamic group is the Arab nation. But there is someone who infiltrated it and who wants to distinguish himself from the Islamic group of the nation by calling himself the Islamic group. What is the Jihad group? It is the Arab nation. He puts himself in the middle. Of course it is a movement directed by the anti-Arab powers to exterminate the Arab nation and destroy the religion of Islam.

Therefore, it is absolutely not fundamentalism; the West calls it fundamentalism so as to distort [the image of] Islam. Even Garaudy himself became confused. It is not fundamentalism. It is the Western media and the foolish Arab media. Islamic extremism, Islamist extremists, the Islamists did this and that. They are not Islamists. It is impossible for a Muslim to kill children and women and burn them as the case in Algeria is or kill a poor policeman in southern Egypt who is working for a living to bring up his children. Is this an act that deserves paradise? Of course not. It is an act perpetrated by an atheist who deserves to go to hell. These [people] are the disciples of Satan who deserve death.

Qandil: We have Muhammad Qabartay, deputy editor of the London- based Al-Arab newspaper.

Qabartay: First of all, I would like to express my warm greetings on this occasion. Meanwhile, I wish that the leader would reaffirm his assurance to Arab countries' presidents and kings that under [Arab] union they would remain heads of state.

Qadhafi:  They will hear from me for the thousandth time that under the proposal on Arab union put forward by Libya every Arab ruler, if a king, will remain a king; a kingdom will remain a kingdom; a republic will remain a republic; a president will remain his excellency the president -- even if he is not happy, we will have excellence. Shaykhs, amirs, and all those will be treated with respect and honor, and will remain [in power]. Moreover, the Arab union will protect their monarchies, republics, sheikdoms, and emirates in the event of any threat, even from inside. Here you are, we have reaffirmed.
 
Qandil: In fact, for the third time during this program.

[Passage omitted: question by 'Abd-al-Rauf, editor of the Egyptian daily Aqidati, on prospects for the setting up of an Arab common market. Al-Qadhafi says he has repeatedly called for the setting up of such a market; he added that it was up to the Arab leaders to officially announce it as they did in 1957 when they announced an economic unity which has not been achieved yet. Qandil asks al- Qadhafi about the way to reconcile Libyan socialism, as outlined in the Green Book, and international economic openness and the private sector. Al-Qadhafi stresses that capitalism is collapsing and the ideas of the Green Book are gaining ground. Milhem Karam, editor of the Lebanese weekly Al-Hawadet, asks about measures taken to achieve Arab unity. Al-Qadhafi said that Arab countries, if united, would be able to deal on an equal basis with