Miss Iraq 2017's family flees country after receiving death threats over her selfie with Miss Israel

FP Staff

Dec 17, 2017 13:49:04 IST

Miss Iraq Sarah Idan's family has been forced to flee Iraq post multiple death threats after Idan posted a photograph on her Instagram account in which she is seen posing with Miss Israel, Adar Gandelsman, at the Miss Universe 2017 pageant.

Bikini-clad photos of Idan also sparked massive outrage and was touted as another reason behind the death threats, according to The Jewish Chronicle.

Confirming the news, Idan took to her Twitter profile and talked about how she was not "the first, nor the last person to face prosecution over a matter of personal freedom. Millions of Iraqi women live in fear."

The two contestants met at Miss Universe 2017 in Tokyo last month and posed for pictures together. "Peace and Love from Miss Iraq and Miss Israel #missuniverse" read Idan's caption on her photograph with Gandelsma.

Peace and Love from Miss Iraq and Miss Israel ❤️❤️💕💕 #missuniverse A post shared by Sarah Idan (Sarai) سارة عيدان (@sarahidan) on

"The two of those things together (the selfie with Miss Israel and the bikini photos) caused a mess for her back home where people made threats against her and her family, that if she didn’t return home and take down the photos, they would remove her (Miss Iraq) title, that they would kill her. Out of fear, they (Idan's family) left Iraq at least until the situation calms down. She did it to so that people can understand that it’s possible to live together. In order for people to see that we can connect, in the end, we are both human beings (sic),” said Gandelsman, according to a Times of Israel report.

Idan had previously taken to her Instagram account and defended the photograph (in an Arabic post) which stated "I want to stress that the purpose 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.

Miss Israel (Gandelsman) went on to add that her and Miss Iraq (Idan) are still in touch and that the two women share a special bond.

Updated Date: Dec 17, 2017 13:49:04 IST