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Miss Iraq gets wild death threats after posting a selfie with Miss Israel

In an attempt to show unity, Sarah Idan, representing Iraq in the Miss Universe pageant, took a picture with Miss Israel, Adar Gandelsman, and captioned it, “Peace and Love from Miss Iraq and Miss Israel” last month in an Instagram post.

What was supposed to be a beautiful representation of societal progression quickly turned dark, with Sarah still receiving death threats over it today.

Sarah tells 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.'”

The Miss Iraq organization issued the first warning, telling her to take it down or she would lose her title. Her family reached out to her in an attempt to get her to take it down also,

“My mom was freaking out. I told her ‘Mom, just get out. Get out.’ I told her I’m sorry and asked if she wants me to leave the competition. I was ready to drop out right then.”

The Miss Iraq Organization won’t admit they threatened to strip her of her title, but claim to CNN that they were just reacting to the amount of negativity rising from the Iraqi community.

“In terms of the picture with Miss Israel, we got a strong attack from the Iraqi street but we did not say we would strip her title. We told her to clarify what happened.”

Her family has also been affected, living within constant fear. Unfortunately, the Iraqi government is offering absolutely no support to quell any trepidations.

“People in Iraq recognized my family, they immediately knew who they were. And they were getting death threats.”

In an attempt to satisfy everyone, Idan put up a second post soon after her original photo, stating that she does not support the Israeli Government in any way.

At least she’s seeing some support from her fans, who mentioned that they loved the photo (and the message) she was sending.

“Please don’t be bullied by those obsessed and burdened by hate. We live in a better world than they. Loved your post,” writes commenter rickdavidsonz.

“Wouldnt it be nice if politicians and power hungry war mongers learned to be brave enough to take the risks like Ms Universe has? She had the wisdom to know this was the right means to possibly win a seed of peace,” says steve_drone_shots.

As a Palestinian myself, I can honestly say when I initially saw the picture, it brought a smile to my face; two women, one from Iraq and one from Israel, united together is so far from the normal depiction of what’s going on in the Middle East.

It’s very unfortunate that progressive thinking still doesn’t reach too many people, even in 2017.

As for Idan, she will not be traveling to Iraq anytime soon. Luckily, with her dual-passport, she is currently safe in Los Angeles as her family flees their home country.