By Scott Siraj al-Haqq Kugle

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But it was not so easy to escape confrontation. His father tracked him down and intercepted him in an airport in Europe. The father could not convince him to return to Morocco, so they agreed that they would travel together to New York and complete his trip as planned, then return together to Morocco later. “I was terrified because I could tell that he was angry and intended to punish me, but I did not know what to do. ” But on the second night in New York, he decided to flee a second time. He removed his papers and money from his father’s wallet and hid out in a mosque in Queens.

I am grateful for the Institute’s intellectual and financial support for this project, and for those who helped me refine my project, especially Khalid Masud, Asef Bayat, Martin van Bruinessen, and Abdulkader Tayob. I acknowledge with many thanks the scholars and institutions that invited me to address their members and field questions on this issue, such as Linda Herrera at the Institute for the Social Sciences in The Hague, Kamran Ali and Hina Azam at the University of Texas at Austin, and Malek Moazzam Doulat at Occidental College in Los Angeles.

Mehdi had not been publicly exposed as gay in Morocco and had not been arrested or suffered systematic discrimination outside his family.

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