Wednesday, 17 October, 2018

Miss Iraq receives death threats over selfie with Miss Israel

Sarah Idan winning the 2016 Miss Iraq USA pageant Miss Iraq receives death threats over selfie with Miss Israel
Diane Mills | 19 December, 2017, 11:44

Idan represented Iraq in the Miss Universe pageant in 2017 after 45 years.

In November, Iraq's Miss Universe contestant Sarah Idan snapped a selfie with her friend Adar Gandelsman, who was competing as Miss Israel.

She said that she refused to do so, but stayed quiet about the matter for weeks as her family left the country amid harassment and people recognizing them in the street.

More than 3,600 "likes" greeted their picture, but it also triggered an avalanche of comments, some positive and others negative in a country that does not recognise Israel, with which it is still technically at war.

She added that Idan's family in Iraq have been forced to leave, saying: "Out of fear they left at least until the situation calms down".

Miss Iraq, Sarah Idan, lives in the United States and the rest of her family has now fled the country, Miss Israel, Adar Gandelsman, told Hadashot news.

Despite the controversy, Miss Iraq doubled-down on the photo, leaving it online and writing: "I want to stress that the goal of the picture was only to express hope and desire for peace between the two countries".

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She wrote: "I want to stress that the goal of the picture was only to express hope and desire for peace between the two countries". "Posting this does not mean that I am supporting the Israeli government and does not mean that I accept any of their policies toward the Arab world", according to an India Today report.

Sarah later apologised "to all those who consider [the picture] harmful to the Palestinian cause".

Idan had previously taken to her Instagram account and defended the photograph (in an Arabic post) which stated "I want to stress that the goal of the picture was only to express hope and desire for peace between the two countries".

"She is very intelligent and she did it for people to understand that it is possible to live together", Gandelsman said. Idan who lives in the USA gave confirmation on the news via tweet. Reportedly, she was told to remove the selfie from her social media pages or she would be stripped of her title. She did not take down the picture though.

That would require Idan to travel back to Iraq, which she says she's afraid to do.

Idan told CNN, "I said 'let's take a picture so our people can see we don't have a problem and we're actually ambassadors for peace'". "This is Miss Iraq and she's wonderful", Gandelsman added.

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