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Omar Sharif "Hears Voices" While Playing Apostle Peter - Prompts Islamic Death Threats

Guardian Staff / Teresa Neumann Reporting : Nov 3, 2005  The Guardian

"Playing Peter was so important for me that even now I can only speak about it with difficulty. It will be difficult for me to play other roles from now on."

Omar SharifEgyptian-born Omar Sharif, the handsome star of Lawrence of Arabia, Dr. Zhivago and leading man in numerous other international films, was cast as the Apostle Peter in an Italian TV mini-series. As a result, the 73-yr old actor has been receiving death threats on Al-Qaida based websites.

"Omar Sharif has stated that he has embraced the crusader idolatry," the posting said. "He is a crusader who is offending Islam and Muslims and receiving applause from the Italian people. I give you this advice, brothers, you must kill him."

Sharif's recent experience playing Peter has piqued great interest in many arenas. Raised as a Coptic Christian, Sharif converted to Islam in the 1950s after marrying the Egyptian film star Faten Hamama. But during the filming of the mini-series, Sharif is reported as saying he "seemed to hear voices, and...playing Peter was so important for me that even now I can only speak about it with difficulty. It will be difficult for me to play other roles from now on."

The report in the Guardian says Sharif has "repeatedly upset fans in the Muslim world. In 1968, with memories of the six-day war with Israel fresh in Arab minds, he caused a furor by kissing a Jewish woman, Barbra Streisand, in the movie Funny Girl. His films were banned in Egypt as a result."

Although prior to this year, Sharif seemed to shrug off questions about his spiritual beliefs, could it be that his experience playing St. Peter has impacted his life to the point that he will again embrace the faith of his fathers?







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