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The Mideast

Nation Of Islam Leader Slams Qaddafi's Death

Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan said Tuesday that those rejoicing in the death of ousted Libyan leader Moammar Qaddafi will come to sorrow and predicted that the U.S. was unprepared for the looming backlash from his overthrow.

Farrakhan told a Chicago radio station that Qaddafi's death was "an assassination" and laid it at the feet of the U.S., Great Britain and France. Qaddafi was killed last week, two months after being ousted as Libya's leader. His 42-year reign turned the oil-rich country into an international pariah and his own personal fiefdom.

Farrakhan, who considered Qaddafi a friend, said those nations' establishment of a no-fly zone to stop Qaddafi's planes and offers of humanitarian relief to the Libyan people were intended to help oust Qaddafi from power and gain access to Libya's oil wealth.

"They succeeded in being the authors of the successful assassination of a sitting president," Farrakhan told WVON-AM in Chicago, adding that it placed America's interests in danger. "No one can trust the United Nations because it is a pawn of the Western world. No nation will give up their weapons of mass destruction like Qaddafi did, because it is the only protection they have against the wicked witches of the West."

Farrakhan also noted that the people now claiming leadership of Libya are advocating Islamic Sharia law, something that he contends the U.S. has opposed.

Farrakhan said he became acquainted with Qaddafi in the 1970s and 1980s, and noted that Qaddafi loaned his organization $5 million over the years. Farrakhan said Qaddafi had also lent Elijah Muhammad, his predecessor as head of the Nation of Islam, $3 million to convert a Greek Orthodox Church in Chicago into the Mosque Maryam.

"It wasn't the money, but the principles that made me his brother," Farrakhan said.

Farrakhan said Libyan oil revenue was used to build schools and universities that increased literacy, and he credited Qaddafi with establishing a health care system that he said was the best in the Third World.

Qaddafi, 69, was buried Tuesday along with his son, Muatassim, and former Defense Minister Abu Bakr Younis after the military council in the city of Misrata ordered a reluctant Muslim cleric to say the required prayers. The National Transitional Council is under international pressure to investigate the circumstances of Qaddafi's death.

Farrakhan said America "doesn't know what it's gotten itself" into with the Qaddafi overthrow. He said he didn't believe Qaddafi when he said al-Qaida was involved in efforts to oust him, but now Farrakhan believes that was true.

The Chicago-based Nation of Islam has espoused black nationalism and self-reliance since it was founded in the 1930s, though in recent years has made efforts to recruit other ethnic groups.