Published: Sat, December 16, 2017
Entertaiment | By Paul Elliott

Miss Iraq forced to flee country over Instagram photo alongside Miss Israel

Miss Iraq forced to flee country over Instagram photo alongside Miss Israel

Miss Iraq Sarah Idan and her family had to leave Baghdad after the beauty queen received death threats over a selfie with Miss Israel in Tokyo last month, according to media reports.

In a follow up post on Instagram, which is written in Arabic, Idan said she did not intend to cause any harm.

In Arabic, Sarah Idan said Gandelsman told her 'she hopes that one day there will be peace between the two religions (Judaism and Islam)' Gandelsman, 19, posted on her own Instagram account: 'This is Miss Iraq and she's wonderful'. Gandelsman said she has been in touch with Idan since the pageant and that the two women have a special relationship. Out of fear, they left Iraq at least until the situation calms down, "The Jewish Chronicle quoted Ms Gandelsman as saying".

She later moved to the United States and got a degree in Los Angeles.

In November, Gandelsman and Idan took selfies together and shared them to their respective profiles, with thousands of followers.

Family of Iraqi beauty queen

In response, people in Idan's home country of Iraq began issuing threats against the beauty queen and her family, Gandelsman told Israeli television. On Facebook, she added, "With Miss Iraq, Practicing bringing world peace".

Idan, who lives in the U.S., posted a photo on Instagram with the caption: "Peace and love Miss Iraq and Miss Israel".

Idan, who said she had served with both the USA and Iraqi armies: "She asked for a photo and I agreed, saying that I too hoped for peace and wanted to help pass on the message". "I want to stress that the goal of the picture was only to express hope and desire for peace between the two countries", she wrote (in Arabic) in a later Instagram post. However, she apologized to those who considered the gesture against the Palestinian cause.

Apparently that wasn't enough to appease the population.

"She did that to inform people that it's possible to live in peace", Ms Gandelsman said, adding that's why she did not delete the photo despite the all the trolling. "In order for people to see that we can connect, in the end we are both human beings".

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