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After Mohamed Al Fayed's application for British citizenship was turned down by the Government, here is how some press commentators responded.

MOHAMED Al Fayed is held up as a hate figure who, for all the fuss, might as well have been an international terrorist. But he is simply a shopkeeper who pays massive taxes and has never had so much as a parking ticket in his life. If the tens of thousands of letters and postcards which have arrived at Al Fayed's office during the last couple of years are anything to go by, ordinary, decent people are firmly on his side....

The wonder is that the Government hasn't already pressed a passport into the hands of a man who contributes so much to the national piggy bank. They should ask him how many he wants! And thank heaven that he likes it here in Britain....

It wouldn't matter to me if he were born in a mud hut on the banks of the Nile. It's what a man does with his life that counts. But the snobs don't see it that way. In this country we pride ourselves on a deep sense of fair play and that's why I believe Jack Straw should have the courage to grant Al Fayed citizenship. Because the man deserves it. It's as simple as that. And if the establishment and those toadying columnists don't like it, then to hell with them.

Brian Hitchen, The Mirror

IMPATIENT and indiscreet, Fayed perversely sought to join the Establishment by orchestrating its humiliation. Too crude and too uneducated to understand subtle manipulation, the vain fantasist, perpetually searching for the spotlight, could not grasp that to persuade the British of his sincerity, he needed to behave like the natives....

Fayed's arguments were understandable but based upon the perverted logic of a fantasist who desires that reality should be changed to suit his convenience. The reality is that Fayed was born in Egypt and wanted to settle in Britain....

As proof of Britain's extraordinary tolerance, he has never been blamed for the death of Princess Diana, despite his mistake of entrusting her safety to a drunken chauffeur....

But in the end, the man who approved the break-in of Tiny Rowland's safety deposit box at Harrods must bear the consequences of his distasteful behaviour. Fayed is his own worst enemy.

Tom Bower, Daily Mail

THE MYSTERY is not why he has been denied British nationality but why he persists so doggedly in his long struggle to be granted it. For the process of application succeeds only in constantly exposing the man, and his colourful past, to the kind of withering scrutiny that brings the exact opposite of what he seeks - scornful rejection where he craves acceptance....

It is when he is wrong that he starts to lie. But they are not the lies of a cunning strategist. Rather, they are statements of wish-fulfilment. "He swiftly convinces himself that the truth is what he wants it to be," said an insider. "It is self-delusion rather than wilful deception." This is what explains his propensity to tell lies that can so easily be found out....

The most singular irony in the entire sad saga is the gap that is revealed between Fayed's behaviour and values and those that he purports to admire in the national character he is anxious to adopt....

The Britishness he so lusts after is the one thing that eludes him. It is part of his tragedy that he will never understand why.

Paul Vallely, The Independent

SOME people find Fayed comic, even his extravagant language, the private army of bodyguards and expensive flunkeys, the shameless showering of largesse upon anyone he wishes to impress, flatter or buy. Some mindless football fans are prepared to love him, just because he has bought Fulham and poured cash into the club. There remain those, like Lady Spencer and his lavishly rewarded former mouthpiece Michael Cole, who won't hear a word said against him. Jeffrey Archer still seems to be rooting for him. Far more people, however, find Fayed frightening, repellent, and even sinister....

That a man of Fayed's record, who has made so much trouble in Britain, should ever have got so far, or been able to buy the handshakes of so many important and famous people, remains extraordinary. He is disgraced, largely discredited, and no one could turn a blind eye to such a record.

Alex Renton, Evening Standard

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