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NameShrouk El-Attar
CountryUK
Statement

I am a 17 year old, seeking asylum on the basis of sexuality and religion. I am a lesbian and consider myself an ex-Muslim, kind of openly (excluding my mother and avoiding people who can contact her). I was taught in school since a young age that homosexuals and atheists/agnostics should be killed and burn in hell. Thus grew up being ashamed of my beliefs and sexuality and myself really, until recently when I realised it is nothing to be ashamed of and that there is a lot of people out there with the same sexuality and who are not ashamed of asking themselves and having second thoughts about their religion.
Homosexuality, which is still thought of and legally recognised as a mental illness, is illegal and persecuted in Egypt as well as apostasy. I am not able to keep this a secret anymore as I have done a huge mistake last year by making my Facebook profile info public after I moved to the UK. About a thousand of my Facebook friends from a total of nearly two thousand were Egyptians and I used to receive a lot of online abuse due to my sexuality and religion listed. Also, I later realised that I have accidentally accepted a few of my family members as Facebook friends and they obviously read my information, which means that my family knows about it, so I deleted my account and made a new private one. But this did not change the fact that they still know, and returning back to Egypt to a family that realises my sexuality will make them try and rush me into marriage forcibly and once they realise I am not a virgin they will try to circumcise me, not to mention the physical abuse I will be receiving, especially from my dad\'s side of the family as they tried to circumcise me and my sister when I was younger, but my mother tried and persuade them and took us away. Now that I am not a virgin it would be virtually impossible to persuade them; also my mother would be blamed for all that as she is the one who let them not do it in the first place.
Furthermore, being openly agnostic/atheist is a dangerous matter in Egypt due to some of the terrorist groups in Egypt besides it is not allowed in Egypt legally (you can only be a Muslim mainly-, Christian, or a Jew-small minority-) even converting from Islam to any of these allowed religions is not allowed or recognised in Egypt, but you can convert from Judaism or Christianity into Islam. Being gay also applies. Knowing that I would never be able to have a sincere, loving relationship without having to hide it or watch every single move we take was hard enough. I have not had any direct physical abuse or persecuted because of these reasons previously as I kept them a secret. However, others whose similar secrets have been out and remained in Egypt, the least of their problems was worrying about a jail sentence, so now that it is not a secret anymore, I realise what I will be facing. Here in the UK some people may point and look in disgust, which I can live with knowing that if I was in Egypt I might have been seriously harmed. These are the second main reasons to me for not going back home, as the first one would not be believed or recognised by the Home Office I decided to come forward to you with this information and ask you kindly for your advice and support. As much as I know how this will ruin my relationship with my mother and probably brother and sister as well, and how hard this will be, it is nothing compared to what I would have gone through if I was in Egypt, as well as my mother as she would be blamed for all that. I have developed a network of support here in Cardiff and I already have a life here. It took me and my family very long to feel safe again, and I don\'t wish for this feeling to be lost again.

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