It's not easy being gay in Egypt. It's also not easy being Jewish.
Omar Sharif Jr., grandson of two-time Golden Globe winning actor Omar Sharif (senior), admitted Sunday to being both, in an article published in the April edition of The Advocate.
Hailing from the North African nation struggling to redefine its relationship with democracy and human rights, Sharif wrote his "confession" to urge elected officials to speak out on the issues of religious and sexual freedom.
"I hesitantly confess: I am Egyptian, I am half Jewish, and I am gay."
Sharif's Jewish heritage comes from his mother's side, making him fully Jewish according to the rabbinical tradition.
Sharif expressed insecurity about his confession, writing that he believes he will face persecution over his expressed identity. "I write this article in fear. Fear for my country, fear for my family, and fear for myself," he said. "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. And yet I speak out because I am a patriot."
Sharif stated his belief that the Arab Spring- the dream of secular, progressive Egyptian youth- has been hijacked by Islamists. "The troubling results of the recent parliamentary elections dealt secularists a particularly devastating blow," he stated.
"I write, with healthy respect for the dangers that may come, for fear that Egypt's Arab Spring may be moving us backward, not forward."
Sharif left Egypt and moved to the United States in January.
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