Omar Sharif Jr. says he fears returning to Egypt after coming out as gay and half-Jewish. The grandson of two-time Golden Globe-winning actor Omar Sharif says he hesitantly confessed to his background and sexual orientation, in a piece published by The Advocate, a gay magazine, this weekend.
The letter is a call to action to his fellow Egyptians. Show us that your true intent is not to gradually eradicate the few civil liberties and safeguards that we currently have protected by convention, if not constitution, Sharif writes at one point.
The opening of Sharif Jr.'s letter reads: 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.
Sharif's open letter of concern says secularists and minorities are in danger in Egypt's social turmoil, particularly now that the revolution that young people died for in Cairo's Tahrir Square has been hijacked.
The rise of Islamist parties in parliamentary elections forced Sharif to ask: Am I welcome in the new Egypt?
Sharif calls his article a litmus test for the new Egypt, challenging all polltical parties to react in a socially progressive way. He goes on to challenge foreign governments and NGOs with an Egyptian presence to offer protection and advocacy on civil liberties in the emerging social sphere there, so that an admission like mine is not a sentence to prison, physical harm, or worse.
Sharif is an actor as his grandfather was. He left Egypt in January 2011, just as the revolution took hold. He currently resides in the United States. The Jerusalem Post noted that Sharif's mother is Jewish, making him fully Jewish (not half) under rabbinical law.