"Shirts I change several times a day, but I only changed religion once. I fell in love very young with Faten Hamama, the most important actress of Egypt. She was Muslim and I could only marry her if I converted to Islam. I was not particularly a believer and it did not matter to me. However, my parents raised the roof, but they adored my wife and everything was turned out fine. Now my son is atheist like me. I have educated him so that he is tolerant of the whole world. I do not believe that to be Egyptian, white or black is a reason for confrontation. It is absurd that people kill by the flags or national anthems."
Omar Sharif, actor, interviewed by Eugenia Yague, published in Spanish magazine El Mundo, 2002.
Spanish: "De camisa me cambio varias veces al día y de religión sólo cambié una vez. Me enamoré muy joven de Faten Hamama, la actriz más importante de Egipto. Era musulmana y sólo podía casarme con ella si me convertía al islam.Yo no era particularmente creyente y me dio igual. En cambio, mis padres pusieron el grito en el cielo, pero adoraban a mi mujer y se arregló todo. Ahora mi hijo es ateo como yo, le he educado para que sea tolerante con todo el mundo. No creo que ser egipcio, blanco o negro suponga un motivo de enfrentamiento. Es absurdo que la gente se mate por las banderas o los himnos nacionales."
New evidence has come to light that Sharif is NOT an atheist. In a 2007 interview, Sharif states the statements about him being an atheist were completely fabricated and that he has been Islamic since 1954. Here () is the video of the interview. It's in Arabic, but I had it professionally translated and here is the transcript of the key exchange:
Interviewer: I always like to ask my guests about the press and rumors that circulate about them. Because by asking them you find that their opinion is different than what has been published in the news papers. I like to ask Omar el Sharif about his view on Religion, and where he Stands, what do say about religion in general?
Sharif: All the sayings are inventions; they like to say what they want. I do not even know where they come up with this stuff. It is imaginative, I am a man who believes in God, I love him, I fear him, but I can not claim that I do all the things religion requires of me, for example I do not pray five times a day. I have faith in God, and in the religion that I followed and loved since 1954 A.D, That’s when I have converted to Islam. Also, I have gone to Umrah (pilgrimage to Mecca) four or five years ago. I am a man whose trade requires him to memorize a line, and portray a character, whether it is good, or a bad character that is not who I am. It is simply who I am paid to be, it is my Job.