Omar Sharif, star of such greats as Lawrence of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago, has confirmed that he has converted from Islam to the Jewish mystic Kabbalah sect.
Rumors began of his conversion two years ago when the actor attended a number of religious meeting held for European Jews. Sharif said he was convinced by these to join the religion.
The actor has always had a very liberal interpretation of religion, telling the The Daily News, Egypt: “I believe in God and I believe in religion, but I believe religions should belong to you.”
Kabbalah has a big star following with celebrities like Madonna named as fans of the religion. But the news of Omar’s conversion shocked many in the Arab world especially after he had changed his original religion Christianity and became a Muslim. Omar’s original name was Michael Shalhoub and before marrying Egyptian diva Faten Hamma he changed it to Omar.
For the record, you can’t “convert” to Kabbalah, since it is not a religion. And the whole Hollywood-Kabbalah thing is phony.
Update: It seems the story was phony as well.
Egyptian actor Omar Sharif, who is still remembered for his roles in “Lawrence of Arabia” and “Doctor Zhivago”, has denied rumors that he converted to a mystical sect of Judaism. (Reuters)
The internationally renowned Egyptian actor Omar Sharif expressed his resentment at recent rumors that he converted to Judaism which he described as absolutely groundless.
Omar Sharif did not embrace Kabbalah, a form of Jewish mysticism, as has been recently rumored, said the actor’s official spokesperson Inas Bakr.
“I have been hearing these rumors for a while and I have no idea what their source is, but they are not true and he is not thinking of converting at all,” she told Al Arabiya.
Bakr added that two things are next to impossible when it comes to Sharif’s values: changing his religion and changing his nationality.
“He has always sworn never to think of changing those two and he has never taken back a word he said.”