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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 September 2005, 10:14 GMT 11:14 UK
'Muslim' comedy stirs controversy
Albert Brooks in The In-Laws
Albert Brooks starred in The In-Laws in 2003
Comedian Albert Brooks has accused Sony of shying away from releasing his film because it has "Muslim" in the title.

He said he had to find a new distributor for Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World after Sony backtracked on releasing it, fearing reprisals.

Brooks said the film poked fun at American ignorance of the Muslim world and did not touch on religion.

Sony said its decision to pass on the film was not based on the title and that Brooks "manufactured controversy".

It said in a statement: "We made our decision to pass on Brooks' movie the same way we did to accept Fahrenheit 9/l1 - on the merits, with neither fear nor favour."

But Brooks, who wrote, directed and stars in the movie, contends that "fear is playing a major part in Hollywood production".

Aid relations

He said he realised there would be problems when the studio "jokingly" asked if the movie could be called Looking for Comedy.

This followed the inflammatory Newsweek article which suggested US solders flushed a copy of the Koran down a toilet at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The story was later retracted.

In the film, Brooks plays a comedian sent to India and Pakistan by the government to discover what makes Muslims laugh to aid relations post-9/11.

He said the film does not ridicule religion, rather Americans' misunderstanding of the Muslim world.

"I was allowed to film in the biggest mosque in India and when I told the imam the plot of the movie he started to laugh," said Brooks.

The film will now be distributed by Warner Independent, part of Warner Brothers, and is due for release in January.

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