Son of Libyan leader backs Bush on democracy

Saif Gadhafi, son of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, agrees with U.S. President George W. Bush about the need for democracy in the Middle East , he said in an interview with an Austrian newspaper published Friday. Libya , where politics is tightly controlled, is viewed as a military dictatorship by the United States , according to the CIA World Factbook.

"Even Bush and the Americans are right from time to time. We need democracy in the Middle East . That's good for us, good for the United States of America and good for Europe ," Gadhafi said in an interview with the conservative daily Die Presse.

In non-democratic countries, people are judged not by their competence and skills but by their loyalty, which mostly means that the "wrong people" end up in "wrong positions", he said. Gadhafi, saying his goal was to improve the quality of life for Libyans, added that "only God knew" when the country would become a democracy.

" Libya is not yet ready for drastic reforms. That will take time." Gadhafi also urged Austria , which currently holds the presidency of the European Union, to take a stand on the uproar caused by the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in the European media.

" Austria holds the presidency of the EU and should do something about the outrageous anti-Islamic campaign in the western Media," Gadhafi said. He added that it should be forbidden to portray Islam as a terrorist religion and to mock the prophet.

Austria 's chancellor, however, has already made a statement on the issue earlier this week. Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel, speaking for Austria 's EU presidency, called for an end to "reciprocal provocations and insults" related to the cartoons.

"Neither disparaging caricatures of Mohammed nor the denial of the Holocaust or shameful jokes about the Holocaust have any place in a world where cultures and religions should live side by side in a spirit of mutual respect," Schuessel said in a statement. "We do not want a clash of cultures, but peace between the different cultures."

Gadhafi, meanwhile, called on Austria 's Muslim population to take to the streets after Friday prayers, referring to the situation as a "clash of civilizations." Demonstrations in Vienna and the southern city Graz were planned for Friday afternoon, reports the AP.


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