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Will I Be Welcome in the New Egypt?': Omar Sharif's Grandson Comes Out As Gay, Jewish

"Will I be welcome in the new Egypt?"

Omar Sharif, who starred next to Peter O'Toole in Lawrence of Arabia, is one of the world's most recognized Egyptians.  However, his grandson may soon be replacing him in that regard.

On Sunday, Omar Sharif Jr. wrote an article in The Advocatein which he stated that he is gay, "half" Jewish, and afraid for the future of his native Egypt.

I write this article in fear. 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.


And so I hesitantly confess: I am Egyptian, I am half Jewish, and I am gay...I ask myself: Am I welcome in the new Egypt?

Sharif Jr. left his native Egypt for the United States in January 2011, before Mubarak's regime collapsed.  His article continues:

I write this article because I am not unique in Egypt and because many will suffer if a basic respect for fundamental human rights and equality is not embraced by Egypt's new government. I write this article because as an Egyptian national newly acquainted with a land of freedom, I feel a certain privilege that I can finally express myself openly as well as artistically. I have a voice, and with it comes a responsibility to share it during this time of social and political change, no matter the risks.

He concluded by stating that he believes the Arab Spring is moving Egypt backward:

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?

The Jerusalem Post notes that actually, because his mother is Jewish, Sharif Jr. is a full Jew in the rabbinical tradition.

Sharif won a Golden Globe and an Oscar nomination for his role in Lawrence of Arabia:

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