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Omar Sharif Jr: I'm Gay, Jewish, and May Be Persecuted in My Home Country of Egypt


Omar Sharif Jr. the grandson of the actor with the same name, who made some headlines last year after appearing at the Oscars and battling Kirk Douglas for his cane, has come out as gay and Jewish.

Sharif had spoken out for gay rights following the Oscars, but he talks about his own sexuality, and faith, and the fear that his home country Egypt will persecute him, for the first time with The Advocate:

And so I hesitantly confess: I am Egyptian, I am half Jewish, and I am gay.

That my mother is Jewish is no small disclosure when you are from Egypt, no matter the year. And being openly gay has always meant asking for trouble, but perhaps especially during this time of political and social upheaval. 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?

...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.

And yet I speak out because I am a patriot.

I am a patriot who remembers a pluralistic Egypt, where despite a lack of choice in the political sphere, society comprised a multitude of beliefs and backgrounds. I remember growing up knowing gay men and women who were quietly accepted by those around them in everyday society.

The Jerusalem Post notes: "Sharif's Jewish heritage comes from his mother's side, making him fully Jewish according to the rabbinical tradition."

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  1. Woof!

    What a hottie.

    In all seriousness, though, while I have a sneaking suspicion he's right... I hope he's wrong. Egypt belongs in the 21st Century and I'll be very sad if Islamist parties drag it back. Let's hope they can be forward thinking and cling strongly to the principles of freedom and democracy and not try to use their power to force upon everyone else their version of Islam (as the Christian Right tries to do in America, just with their version of Christianity).

    There's really very little reason why, 15-20 years from now, Egypt can't be every bit as rich and prosperous as most western european democracies are today... but a stone-age government is one of them.

    They're highly educated, cosmopolitan, have a rich history and are seen as a leader in their entire region... let's hope their new political leadership is a little more Turkey and a lot less Saudi Arabia.

    Posted by: SuperAnon | Mar 20, 2012 11:07:57 AM

  2. Good for him for coming out and his thoughts on the new Egypt are interesting. I hope the new government takes a step in the right direction and does not fall to fundamentalism. It could be a bright future for Egypt, or a step backwards.

    On a totally superficial note, Sharif might be the most stunningly handsome men I have ever seen.

    Posted by: KP | Mar 20, 2012 11:12:34 AM

  3. I'm having trouble reading the article - my eyes keep wandering to the photo.

    Seriously, I think Sharif is spot on in his assessment of the situation in Egypt.

    Posted by: Hank | Mar 20, 2012 11:22:31 AM

  4. nicky arnstein(jr)..nicky arnstein(jr).....

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Mar 20, 2012 11:23:00 AM

  5. Hot hot hot! And he sounds like a great guy.

    Gee, why no comment from "Cynthia," the commenter on the previous post about Omar who asked us to "trust her that he was straight?".

    Posted by: Wisebear | Mar 20, 2012 11:25:05 AM

  6. Guy so good looking like Sharif Jr has to be gay. I remember the pic from last post here and he looks delicious. Very handsome. (I also love hairy chests.) He will make some guy(s) very happy. And he's smart.
    Good for him and all the best!

    Posted by: Matt26 | Mar 20, 2012 11:30:05 AM

  7. agree with others on the hoping wrong on future egypt

    Egypt is the mother of civilization for crying out loud (oldest records of writing are egyptian hieroglyphs outdating summerian cuneiform by at least a few centuries) I hold out hope that egypt has seen gods and empires born and die and outlived them all so will outlast crazy fundamentalism

    Posted by: say what | Mar 20, 2012 11:41:10 AM

  8. He is HAWT.

    Posted by: Alan | Mar 20, 2012 11:48:36 AM

  9. He lives in Egypt? I'd assume he lives in the social elite circus in Europe. This is more a theoretical problem for him than a practical one. However, for those left behind in Egypt, there could be some rough times down the road. The basic problem in Egypt is 25% unemployment, rampant corrupt and few civil services following on decades of post-colonial misrule.

    Posted by: anon | Mar 20, 2012 12:05:53 PM

  10. Holy Sh-t he's cute!!!!!!!

    Posted by: GeorgeM | Mar 20, 2012 12:08:10 PM

  11. He can part my Red Sea.

    Posted by: Anastasia Beaverhausen | Mar 20, 2012 12:13:09 PM

  12. It's perhaps not surprising but I'm still amazed that people are focusing on this guys hotness (yes, it's true - he's' beautiful) and not on the possible persecution he and other gays may face in Egypt.

    Posted by: mike128 | Mar 20, 2012 12:14:58 PM

  13. damn! another foreskin bites the dust :(

    Posted by: t | Mar 20, 2012 12:21:37 PM

  14. Who cares about foreskin. Look at all that furrrrrr! I'm usually against the fur industry, but this one time I'd like a fur coat please.

    The biggest problem in Egypt at the moment is that the government is being hijacked by religious zealots.

    Posted by: Winston | Mar 20, 2012 12:48:42 PM

  15. I don't really understand what he's saying. The ousted president Mubarak was the guy who arrested and tried 52 gay men and plastered their photos on every major newspaper across the country, calling them perverts and apostates. Mubarak was the man who cultivated and encouraged xenophobia, not just against Jews, but against Shi'ites, Christians, and Baha'is.

    I wish the upper class of Egyptian society which benefited the most from Mubarak's reign would stop pretending that Mubarak was some secular democratic angel. He wasn't. He made life hell for many people

    The Islamists are a force to be reckoned with and they pose serious challenges to those who want to see an Egypt that respects the personal rights of all Egyptians. But the fact is that this vision of Egypt is much more likely now than it ever was under Mubarak.

    For the record, while the Jewish religion may view Sharif as fully Jewish, under Islamic law and Egyptian state law, he is considered a Muslim and thus would not suffer discrimination that religious minorities may face.

    Posted by: SJM | Mar 20, 2012 1:06:58 PM

  16. I think we should petition Omar to take ALL his clothes off to prove he's gay....and take lots of racy photos to double-prove it! YUM!

    Posted by: B-rod | Mar 20, 2012 1:11:10 PM

  17. Just as handsome as his father!

    Posted by: Jack M | Mar 20, 2012 1:17:04 PM

  18. Taken from a comment on kenin212 yesterday:
    "First he denied being gay in the Advocate last year after the Oscars.
    Then his career didn't take off, so he must be trying a new angle.

    He was "born this way".
    His mother needs to make up her mind, is she Jewish or is she a convert to her husbands religion, making her a former Jew, so can't really be any worst with zealots in Egypt than his grandfather being a former Xtian.

    He needs to drop the Jr. bit because it's silly, he will get just as much recognition using his real name.

    Look up his grandmother, she is a bigger star than his grandfather will ever be."

    Posted by: Jason | Mar 20, 2012 1:17:18 PM

  19. Yeah, he's a hottie.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Mar 20, 2012 1:44:39 PM

  20. He inherited his grandfathers leading man looks.

    Posted by: jaragon | Mar 20, 2012 6:13:16 PM

  21. This "battling Kirk Douglas for his cane" leads to the previous "battling Kirk Douglas for his cane." Oh! You mean battling Kirk Douglas for his cane!


    Posted by: MarkUs | Mar 20, 2012 6:53:48 PM

  22. so well-written. (and he sounds like a great guy, to boot) i love articulate men!

    Posted by: redball | Mar 20, 2012 7:41:52 PM

  23. Ew he's gay! And a Jew! He should know better Jews can't visit Egypt anyone else can visit there but Jews they haven't been welcome there for a long time! Only Christians and Muslims r let into Egypt that will never change. Least i hope it doesn't

    Posted by: Simsims | Mar 21, 2012 1:03:52 AM

  24. are his feet nailed to the floor there ?? MOVE !

    Posted by: MarkBoston | Mar 21, 2012 1:55:21 AM

  25. simssims or simpleton: where do you live? Hopefully in some primitive society where you can feel free to be enslaved. Are you anti-Jewish or just too dumb to word your comment logically?

    Posted by: jack | Mar 21, 2012 2:53:42 AM

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