Sarah Idan, who represented Iraq in the Miss Universe pageant last month, has been forced to flee her native country along with her family due to a selfie taken with her Israeli counterpart.
A 27-year-old singer-songwriter, Idan, is the first woman to represent Iraq at the pageant in 45 years. The contest this year was held in Las Vegas, Nevada, United States.
The controversy came when Idan happened to meet Miss Israel, 20-year-old model Adar Gandelsman. The pair decided to take a selfie together as a symbol of peace between the two nations, which Idan then posted on her Instagram account.
“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,’” Idan explained to CNN. The photo included the caption “Peace and Love from Miss Iraq and Miss Israel.”
Unfortunately, many of her countrymen did not feel peace and love for Idan or her family, who were soon inundated with death threats.
Miss Iraq Forced to Flee the Country
Idan received a call from her mother, who was “freaking out.” She advised her to get out of the country, and was willing to drop out of the competition if necessary.
However, she declined the Miss Iraq organization’s call to take down the photo, though she did post a new statement saying that she only wanted to “express hope and desire for peace between the two countries,” not make a political statement or harm the Palestinian cause.
Gandelsman has spoken out for her new friend on Israeli TV.
Iraq and Israel do not have diplomatic relations, having gone to war in the past. While many of Israel’s Muslim neighbors have warmed up to the Jewish state recently, this case demonstrates that there is a long way to go before real peace exists between them.
Image Source: Wikimedia