Bill Rancic Defends His Wife Giuliana After Fashion Police Controversy: 'I Tried to Get Them to Release the Footage' 42 years, 2,191 covers and 55,436 stories from PEOPLE magazine's history for you to enjoy
- 8 Stars Who Showed Off Dazzling Diamond Rings That Weren't That Ring
- Read the Cover Story: Steve Harvey: From Homeless to Having It All
- Hiker Who Left Behind Journal Before Dying on Appalachian Trail Was Was Supposed to Meet Her Husband Mid-Trip
- Enterprising Crow Steals Knife from Canadian Crime Scene
- 9 'Wonder'-ful Products from HSN’s Alice Through the Looking Glass Collection
On Newsstands Now
- Matthew McConaughey: In His Own Words
- Jessa Duggar's Wedding Album
- Brittany Maynard's Final Days
Pick up your copy on newsstands
Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine
People Top 5
LAST UPDATE: Tuesday February 10, 2015 01:10PM EST
PEOPLE Top 5 are the most-viewed stories on the site over the past three days, updated every 60 minutes
- September 07, 2009
- Vol. 72
- No. 10
Afghanistan's 'Ryan Seacrest' a Star Far from Home
The Host of His Country's American Idol, Daoud Sediqi Couldn't Go Out Without Being Mobbed by Fans—or Threatened by the Taliban. Now He Has Been Granted Asylum in America
Afghan Star also made a celebrity of its host and creator, Daoud Sediqi, who rose from illegally repairing TVs in the Taliban era to appearing before 11 million rapt viewers—a third of the population. But now Afghanistan's biggest star is a refugee, living in Virginia.
Merely hosting a music show had put him on the resurgent Taliban's radar, and Sediqi says he received death threats by phone, text, even on the street: "In three years, I never went out without a security guard." He accepted that peril, but then a documentary about his show that played last January at the Sundance film festival (now in limited release, Afghan Star will run on HBO in 2010) increased the threat to his life, he felt. The movie reveals that he was more than a host: He used the show to subvert lingering fundamentalist attitudes. It was his decision, for instance, to air footage of a female contestant dancing, a move that brought calls for her to be stoned to death. Says Sediqi: "American soldiers fight with guns. I did the same with music."
He traveled to Sundance for the premiere and was sobered by what he saw—and the crowd's reaction. "Everybody asked me, 'You're not afraid?'"
He made calls to friends at home and decided that this film might seal his fate. During a layover in Atlanta, he stayed up all night debating what to do. In Kabul, "I had a good life," he says, but ultimately, he didn't get on the next plane. Instead he applied to the U.S. government for asylum, which was granted in June.
Now he is improving his English and looking for a job far from his parents and seven siblings, whose educations Sediqi had helped fund. He also longs for the still-hot show that continues without him. "I miss my stage, my audience, my stars," says Sediqi. "I hope I can go home again. But nothing is more important than my life."
Treat Yourself! 4 Preview Issues
The most buzzed about stars this minute!