"The pressure has radicalized me"
Nemat Sadat was the first Afghan who publicly came out as gay. Today he is being followed. The assassin of Orlando, the attack homosexuals, he can understand.
ZEIT ONLINE: You are gay and say yet, you understand how Omar Mateen, who in Orlando killed 49 people and 53 injured ticking - why?
Nemat Sadat: Absolutely - we have the same background: We as Afghans, Muslims and oppressed homosexuals grew up in America. Just you get different messages, whether Mateen was gay or not gay, but it seems to me that many of evidence speak. Sexual repression fed with Islamic extremism is a sure recipe for disaster.
The message from the Orlando assassination shocked me, but I knew that something had to happen. Fault in this case is ideological brainwashing linked to repression. Islam, who hates gays is to blame. Had my parents been more conservative and devout, I could share the fate of Omar Mateens.
ZEIT ONLINE: You grew up in the eighties and nineties in America. What was the childhood of an oppressed gay man who lived in the Afghan Diaspora?
was born in 1979, in the Soviet attack on Afghanistan. He first lived in West Germany, where his father exerted the office of Afghan ambassador. At the age of five he was kidnapped along with two siblings from his mother and brought to America. Sadat studied among others at Columbia University, Harvard and Oxford and then taught at the American University in Kabul. 2013 he outed himself publicly outed as gay as the first Afghan and may not return to Afghanistan since then. He received numerous death threats, lives hidden and working on a novel.
Sadat: I am in the Los Angeles, Orange County, grew up. Since you have to imagine a model American suburb. Early on I felt isolated from my community. Although I was a part of it, but went to the mosque and heard say that homosexuality should be punished with death always the Imam. I even heard it from my uncle. My father was homophobic: He called me kuni, a fag, because I like dancing on Afghan weddings and concerts. That did not like. He said a teenager who is slowly becoming a man should not do that.
TIME ONLINE: Was the situation at the school a little better?
Sadat: I was very popular, but more of a loner and engrossed in my own world. The hetero guys have tickled me. They did not understand me and talked about their first sexual experiences with girls I I abhorred these stories. My fantasies were filled with guys.
TIME ONLINE: Have you then been interested in a particular boy?
Sadat: No, that was completely excluded. Not only in my community but in suburban America of the early nineties, or even in the media saw no gays. I had no internet and just did not think it could be a possibility. I wanted to show everyone that I liked girls, and forced me to fall in love with an Afghan girl, which took several years. My homosexuality was suppressed. Even in high school, I still did not know that I could run after guys. In college, I was with a woman who orgasms demanded, but which I did not like.
TIME ONLINE: When was the breakthrough?
Sadat: During a trip to New York, that was 2003. I was then invited by a friend from the fashion industry, which took me to a Christmas party. Suddenly I saw all sorts of LGBT those formed, sociable and in their professional life were successful and had a community. This experience has opened my eyes: this I could be part of! It was as if I had seen the first time in the light of life. Before that I had lived in a suburban, Afghan bubble which had now burst suddenly. Upon my return, I broke up with my girlfriend. I began to meet with men who I found on the net, and went in gay clubs. I made all this secretly, but I felt even then that my parents suspected something. My father tried to convince my mother that homosexuality was linked to capitalism and even wrote a book about it, which he himself published.
In December 2009, I've outed me to my family. Even then they treated homosexuality as a stage in my life that would eventually come to an end. They tried to marriage to force. I fled in training and then attended Harvard and Columbia University.
"I wanted to be part of the change in Afghanistan"
ZEIT ONLINE: The study period comes to an end. It's high time to find a job. Why you decided to go to Afghanistan? After all, according to a study by Pew Research Center, 99 percent of Afghans for Sharia, holds the religious law of Islam, the homosexuality of one of the worst crimes and the most serious sins.
Sadat: It was difficult for me to integrate myself into the US society. I was because of my origin in social work circles at a TV station for which I worked, excluded. The LGBT community was discriminatory and found me strange, as I was braunhäutig, Muslim and from Afghanistan. In Boston, New York or in California usually broke off my conversations with men, as soon as I said that I come from Afghanistan and I come from a Muslim family. That was a real conversation killer, the men fled.
So I had the romantic idea that I would rediscover my roots that I would find in Kabul a community to which I fit, or could build. The offer to become a lecturer at the American University, so perfectly matched. I wanted to be part of the change and for 30 years of stay in Afghanistan to develop the country.
TIME ONLINE: That did not work out.
Sadat: Before the beginning of class, we were informed about taboo subjects. I should mention no gays and lesbians, and not talking about alcohol or Israel. I wanted to 'teach my lessons the future elite of the country human rights and ethics Aristotle. My lesson was but obviously too heavy. That was my fault: I wanted the standards that I had learned at Harvard, apply in Kabul. That did not work because my student groups consisted partly of not particularly clever, but very influential children of former warlords.
TIME ONLINE: When it came to the first controversies?
Sadat: When I started on social networks on women's rights and human rights to discuss and organize with other gay underground a LGBT community. We have clever ways found to mention in the media gay rights at all, for instance by we talked about HIV-AIDS and said the disease relates to gays if they have unprotected sex.
ZEIT ONLINE: You had to rare glimpse into the gay scene in Kabul. How does it look?
Sadat: How in the world, it turns out there is not very hard to find a sexual partner. They meet in parks, gyms and shopping centers, which are new and nice in Kabul. In buses, I never took for security reasons, you will angegrabscht in the rear seats: One is there signals gets out, then goes into a store, the owner will pay anything to use the back room, and then goes his way , One must remember that in Afghanistan almost no one lives alone and that you can not just go to a hotel with no heterosexual marriage certificate. So such meetings are very complicated. Many gay Afghans meet with foreigners who have their own homes and are discreet. You have to remember that you risk there for homosexual contact life.
TIME ONLINE: Are there any apps that allow homosexual contacts?
Sadat: Yes, Manjam is very popular in the Islamic world. The difference with the West is that most profiles without pictures are and you photos later exchanged in private messages. The two men with whom I have met, sent me their pictures via Skype. My face was, however, to see in the app.
TIME ONLINE: But not even that brought you into trouble.
Sadat: No, it was something much Simpleres: The children of the warlords were mad because I had zero tolerance for copying and have some of them graded for spiking with Fs and Ds (worst grades in the American system). Their fathers are rich Islamists who make with the Americans deal. The children do not study because of their intelligence, but for the money of their fathers at the university. With the score dissatisfied, they began to spread rumors about me.
TIME ONLINE: For example?
Sadat: I was initially presented as an Israeli spy, then, as an atheist, which is also a crime in Afghanistan. Then you said I was a devil worshiper and finally they said I was gay. That even reached the Attorney General and circles of President Karzai. The students told there, I was a posted from Israel Atheist on a mission to destroy Afghanistan. These circuits then called on in the heads of the university.
"Dozens of Likes and hundreds of death threats"
ZEIT ONLINE: You were promoting secularism and gay rights?
Sadat: At the point yet. That changed later. The pressure has radicalized me.
ZEIT ONLINE: How?
Sadat: Because the rumors were there anyway, I started over gay rights and Israel public speaking and have, among other things recommended twice a National Television Afghanistan to maintain contacts with Israel. When one is accused of being gay, and then mentioned Israel on TV, all hell breaks loose. Some of my students have therefore organized a protest action against me, and one has even called me with a death threat. The university did not mind. They advised me to avoid public spaces. I opened the door of my office only to those students who had previously made an appointment with me.
TIME ONLINE: And how you were finally banished from the country?
Sadat: I studied creative writing extern in Oxford where he took part in a theatrical performance in drag, which is of course a sin in Islam. I published the photos on Facebook, and since all now pursued my Facebook profile, I was called and asked not to return from the management of the university. I was threatened with arrest at the airport and possible execution. I had finally breached taboos: promoted gay rights, have performed in drag and have mentioned on television Israel.
TIME ONLINE: Why did you then still outed by the chaos in August 2013 publicly as gay?
Sadat: revenge. I wanted to trigger an avalanche, and I succeeded: many Afghan websites reported about me. And according to an interview for Voice of America, which I gave in Dari (Afghan variant of the Persian language), could no longer say that there are no gays in Afghanistan you. So far no one had dared. I wanted to continue to interfere and cause a change in mentality. That was my first step, I want to return in 20 years to Afghanistan eventually.
ZEIT ONLINE: What happened after your coming-out?
Sadat: I received dozens of Likes and hundreds of death threats. My family and many friends distanced themselves. I feared for my life. There were days when I could not leave my apartment in New York with fear. I could not work and I should go to anyone and I landed with all my diplomas at the shelter.
A friend of my father, an Afghan UN diplomat tried yet to persuade me to work on a press release in which I would come out me again as heterosexual. I should say that I've just played a game in which I wanted to reveal all the gays in Afghanistan. That should bring me back my respect, my family and my dignity. My father thought it was a good plan. Then I did not enter. Then I have abandoned the Islamic faith.
TIME ONLINE: Now you face a beheading.
Sadat: Would get me someone from al-Qaeda or the "Islamic State", they would do it certainly.
TIME ONLINE: Where and how do you live now?
Sadat: Hidden. I have only limited contact with the outside world and no contact with the Afghan or Muslim community. Otherwise, the terrorists would find out where I am.
ZEIT ONLINE: The threats came not only by people from Afghanistan.
Sadat: No, they came from all over the world - from the Netherlands to Australia. And that's what scares me, because the extremists, as the Orlando bomber Omar Mateen wear Western passports and live among us.
According to President Francois Hollande, “All of France is under the threat of Islamic terrorism” after a Tunisian monster, driving a tractor-trailer packed with grenades and guns, rammed into a crowd in Nice and mowed down 84 revelers to death on Bastille Day—the national holiday commemorating the birth of the French Revolution.
Gun control may limit general acts of violence, but jihadi terrorists will use whatever means possible (bombs, knives, planes, rifles, trucks, and biological or nuclear weapons) to exterminate infidels and set the world back to 7th century Arabia. This Islamic attack proves yet again that the fundamentals of Islam is the cancer of our world and must be rooted out for the survival of our species and the preservation of our planet. If you don’t get it by now, you never will. #NiceAttack #PrayforNice #BanIslam #FightForSecularLiberalism
In Fall 2004, when I was an undergraduate at University of California, Irvine, I took a political science course titled “Legal Implications of the Drug Trade” with the Honorable Judge David O. Carter. During the course of the semester, I learned that Black and Latino men face higher incarcerates rates (for the same crime committed and other control variables being the same) than their white counterparts. What does this mean? Institutionalized bias and/or blatant racism by mostly white judges.
Speaking of criminal behavior and the US justice system today, the racial gap in men’s sentencing has only widened since January 2005, with the U.S. v. Booker decision, which restored judicial sentencing discretion. So despite our democratic culture and laws guaranteeing equality, the system is rigged against people of color.
How can we talk about illegal behavior and law enforcement, without addressing the huge racial iniquity in our criminal justice system? And I haven’t even talked about the overwhelming evidence of discrimination in the job market, redlining to deny financial services such as banking or insurance, other services such as healthcare or the reverse redlining that overcharges certain consumers—all of which severely impact black people.
I formulate my thoughts based on my values as a classical liberal. But I can’t deny the fact that my own experience and identity plays a role in my reasoning process. As an ex-Muslim gay man with Afghan national origin, I understand the plight of racial minorities. So all you Trump Mini-Me’s need to check your privilege at the door because no one is immune from my loveable imperial conquest. #Gaysplaining
If you step outside the bounds, you are murdered like the latest victim Qandeel Baloch who was strangled to death by her own brother for being too sexy and showing her skin. Baloch is one of the 1100+ reported cases of honor killings in Pakistan last year. Tens of thousands of honor victims die across the Muslim World and most cases go unreported since law enforcement and the criminal justice system uphold Islamic virtues.
Honor violence committed by Muslims is also growing phenomenon in Europe and North America. If Muslims cannot reform Islam or leave Islam altogether, then there is no place for you in the West.
For a politician who's been completely wrong in opposing gay marriage despite his half-sister being a lesbian and an LGBT rights activist, Newt Gingrich's recent speech on race relations and empathizing with black Americans and his stance on Islam are both on the mark.
Here's what Gingrich said about Islam in the aftermath of the Nice attack: "Let me be as blunt and direct as I can be: Western civilization is in a war. We should frankly test every person here who is of a Muslim background, and if they believe in Sharia, they should be deported. Sharia is incompatible with Western civilization. Modern Muslims who have given up Sharia, glad to have them as citizens. Perfectly happy to have them next door."
From the physical and psychological violence I’ve experienced and witnessed growing up in Islamic society, I can tell you with certitude that devout Muslims are a ticking time bomb waiting to explode.
So long as Mohammedans are committed to protecting their Muslim identity and the image of Islam, it’s only a matter of time when they will erupt like a volcano and become a martyr for the cause. They are so brainwashed to hate that they will sacrifice even their own children and parents to gain entry into paradise.
But, morally inept simpletons will continue to say terrorism has no religion. The fact is that that the concept of martyrdom is inherent and intrinsic to Islam.
Muslims will then say, don’t paintbrush our 1.5 billion followers with one stroke.
Why do you always point out how many adherents you have? To give your extremist ideology legitimacy or to inject fear? No one knows exactly how many Muslims there are since no one born into Islam has a choice to leave without being killed. Besides, the greatest victims are Muslims and I'm sure they are just as fed up with Islam as ex-Muslims and nonbelievers are.
And second, there are over 6 billion non-Muslims who want nothing to do with Islam. You stand no chance in war. We, infidels, outnumber you and have the brains and the brawns and every reason to protect our civilization. While you choose death, darkness, and destruction, we fight for life, liberty, and love. Make no mistake: We will crush Islam and win. #NiceAttacks #NiceFrance
As s a hardline ex-Muslim atheist, I am for the complete transformation of the Islamic World into a bastion of Jeffersonian democracy. Why? Because I doubt sharia can harmoniously accommodate everyone and be an engine of development when it is based on 7th century scriptures.
Do you think apostate, gay, and women's rights will come to Islamic-compliant countries by the masses leaving Islam or by influential religious and political figures reforming sharia for the modern world?
- American University of AfghanistanProfessor of Political Science, 2012 - 2013Taught courses in International Relations, International Political Economy, and History of Afghanistna
- American Broadcasting CompanyProduction Assistant, 2011 - 2011Worked on Nightline Show. Assisted producers and anchors with production needs
- CNNProduction Intern, 2010 - 2010Worked on the Fareed Zakaria Show. Assisted producers with logging and video research and monitored website content.
- United Nations ChronicleEditorial Intern, 2009 - 2009
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