By Dan Merica and Alex Zuckerman, CNN
Washington (CNN)– Moammar Gadhafi may have held onto power in Libya for more than 40 years, but the role Islam played in Gadhafi’s personal life and leadership remains shrouded in mystery and debated by scholars. After his death, scholars are distancing Gadhafi from Islam and characterizing his religious views as “renegade” and “dictatorial” more than Islamic.
“It should also be made quite clear that Gaddafi was no more of a Muslim leader than Slobodan Milosevic or Robert Mugabe should be considered to be Christian leaders,” said Arsalan Iftikhar, an international human rights lawyer and author of “Islamic Pacifism: Global Muslims in the Post-Osama Era.”
“My sense is Gadhafi’s religion was Gadhafisim,” said Kelly Pemberton, assistant professor of religion and women’s studies at George Washington University. “It was clear to many Libyans that his brand of Islam was purely political; it served his political purposes.”