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FATWA ON ALEXEI; Comic facing death threat.

Comedian Alexei Sayle has been threatened with death by Muslim fanatics.

The Liverpudlian was warned of the fatwa death sentence at his home in Merseyside.

Special Branch detectives are working on the theory that he offended Muslims during a recent BBC travel show. In Great Railway Journeys of the World, Alexei said: "To us, Arabs are either terrorists, kidnappers or people trying to flog you stuffed camels."

After his trip through Syria and Jordan he added: "Me and the Arab world have been together for three weeks and we don't like each other."

The 44-year-old also called Syrian leader Hafez al-Assad a "geezer with a toothbrush moustache". The BBC confirmed that after the programme some viewers complained about the portrayal of Arabs.

Alexei, who has now asked for police protection refused to comment.

But wife Linda said: "I suppose someone will take offence whenever you mention powerful issues."

A police spokesman said: "Any allegation of this nature has to be taken seriously."

In 1989 author Salman Rushdie was given police protection after Iran called for his death over alleged blasphemy in his book The Satanic Verses.
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Copyright 1996 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Blackman, Oonagh
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Nov 22, 1996
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