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Omar Sharif Jr fears return to Egypt after coming out

Omar Sharif Jr fears return to Egypt after coming out

The grandson of actor Omar Sharif says he is afraid to return to Egypt after coming out as gay and half-Jewish.

Writing in The Advocate, Omar Sharif Jr said he left Egypt for America last year with a 'heavy heart'.

'I write this article in fear,' he said. 'Fear for my country, fear for my family, and fear for myself.

'My parents will be shocked to read it, surely preferring I stay in the shadows and keep silent, at least for the time being. But I can’t.'

Despite the revolution, he says he is not 'hopeful' about the country's turbulent political situation and worries about his family following the success of Islamic parties in recent elections.

He said: 'The vision for a freer, more equal Egypt — a vision that many young patriots gave their lives to see realized in Tahrir Square — has been hijacked.

'The full spectrum of equal and human rights are now wedge issues used by both the Supreme Council of the Egyptian Armed Forces and the Islamist parties, when they should be regarded as universal truths.'

He added: 'With the victories of several Islamist parties in recent elections, a conversation needs to be had and certain questions need to be raised. I ask myself: Am I welcome in the new Egypt?

'Will being Egyptian, half Jewish and gay forever remain mutually exclusive identities? Are they identities to be hidden?

'While to many in Europe and North America mine might seem like trivial admissions, I am afraid this is not so in Egypt. I anticipate that I will be chastised, scorned, and most certainly threatened.

'From the vaunted class of Egyptian actor and personality, I might just become an Egyptian public enemy.'

He concluded the article by challenging foreign governments and NGOs in Egypt to comment and demand answers on equal and human rights from both the leaders of the revolution and the new government.