Supporters of Libya's leader Muammar Gaddafi look on during a rally in the town of Al-Ajaylat
Supporters of Libya's leader Muammar Gaddafi look on during a rally in the town of Al-Ajaylat

A Saudi Muslim scholar appeared on state-run Libyan satellite television on Monday to call for a fatwa (religious ruling) by key scholars in Saudi Arabia and other Islamic countries calling on the rebels in Libya to put their arms down and talk peace with the regime of Muammar Gaddafi.

Hamoud bin Nafei Al Anzi, a mosque preacher in the central Saudi town of Alasiah, criticised prominent Muslim scholars and the Arab league for joining the fight against Gaddafi five months ago.

Anzi, who is visiting Tripoli, Gaddafi's stronghold, said he was in Libya on a personal mission and that he does not represent Saudi government views.

"I have been to many places bombed by the crusaders (NATO) in Libya....these crusaders are only killing the Libyan people without discrimination and destroying the country," he said in a seminar broadcast by Libyan television.

"I appeal for all our Moslem scholars and intellects to issue a fatwa for those who are fighting the government and their own people to put their arms down and join their brothers on the negotiating table...if you (rebels) have any demands, then sit at the negotiating table and discuss them...please do not resort to weapons to resolve your disputes...I acknowledge there are mistakes but mistakes must not be tackled by bigger mistakes...for God's sake, stop the bloodshed."

Anzi, said he had been taken by Libyan officials and scholars to sites bombed by NATO warplanes in Tripoli, Misrata and other towns.

"I saw people who had their legs and hands severed, eyes blinded and bodies mutilated by the bombs of the blasphemous...and I now wonder who is benefiting from all this destruction...even if there are mistakes by the rulers, this does not justify bringing the foreigners into the country...Islam forbids this...I appeal for all Libyans to stop fighting, talk to each other and discard those crusaders," Alanzi said in rare comments by a Saudi scholar.

"I just urge my brothers in Saudi Arabia and other Islamic countries to issue a fatwa now forbidding fighting and bloodshed....what is wrong with issuing a fatwa telling all parties in Libya to case aside their weapons and sit together...they should listen to the voice of reason and their religion and unite against this blasphemous enemy (NATO) whose sole purpose is to destroy Libya."

Clearly, with the month of Ramadan fast approaching, Gaddafi is decided to emphasise the destructive side of the Nato bombings, as he hopes it will help him maintain his support in Tripoli. Interestingly however, the message calls for a ceasefire from both sides, which will help portray Gaddafi as the victim of Nato and the rebels. Since the beginning of the hostilities, the Libyan leader has insisted he was forced to defend itself against the insurgents.

Long gone are then accusation of Al-Qaeda's drugging the youth's Nescafe as Gaddafi proves that he is now intended to focus on using Ramadan to try and push for a halt in the hostilities. Could the leader then really be on the verge of surrendering or is this just another Gaddafi PR exercise?