Miss Iraq's family 'forced to leave' over joint Instagram photo with Miss Israel

Sarah Idan's family said to be driven out of Iraq over controversial selfie with Adar Gandelsman


The family of Iraq’s competitor in the Miss Universe competition have been forced to leave the country after she posed for a photograph together with her Israeli counterpart at last month’s pageant.

Sarah Idan, who holds the title of Miss Iraq, posted a selfie with Miss Israel Adar Gandelsman on Instagram, along with a caption reading “Peace and Love from Miss Iraq and Miss Israel.”

Speaking to Israel’s Hadashot News channel, Ms Gandelsman said that “people made threats against her [Ms Idan] and her family that if she didn’t return home and take down the photos, they would remove her title, [and] that they would kill her.

“Out of fear, they left Iraq at least until the situation calms down."

Her picture last month went viral and Ms Idan was subjected to an immediate backlash, with a large number of posts abusing her for the photograph. She later released a statement apologising “to all those who consider [the picture] harmful to the Palestinian cause.”

However, she did not remove the picture from the site, writing that “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.”

Ms Gandelsman told Hadashot News she was still in contact with Ms Idan, who is now residing in the United States – and that her Iraqi friend did not regret posting the photo.

“She did it so that people can understand that it’s possible to live together,” Ms Gandelsman said.

“In order for people to see that we can connect, in the end we are both human beings.”

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