The grandson of two-time Golden Globe winning actor Omar Sharif “hesitantly confessed” in an article published Sunday that he is gay and half Jewish, and worried about being welcome in Egypt.
Omar Sharif Jr. wrote in The Advocate, “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 expressed his disappointment at the recent parliamentary elections, writing that the revolution gave him hope for a “more tolerant and equal society,” but now he is not as hopeful.
“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,” Sharif wrote.
“I write … for fear that Egypt’s Arab Spring may be moving us backward, not forward,” he wrote.
The Jerusalem Post noted that Sharif’s mother is Jewish, making him fully Jewish according to rabbinical tradition.
Sharif wrote that admitting he has a Jewish mother is “no small disclosure” for an Egyptian.
“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?”
Sharif, an actor like his grandfather, left Egypt in January 2011, just before the revolution. He now resides in the United States.