Friendship with Miss Israel proves costly for Iraq beauty queen, kin; forced to flee

Miss Israel Adar Gandelsman (Left) and Miss Iraq Sarah Idan. (Instagram photos)
Miss Israel Adar Gandelsman (L) and Miss Iraq Sarah Idan. (Instagram)

Photo Caption:  Miss Israel Adar Gandelsman (Left) and Miss Iraq Sarah Idan. (Instagram photos)

Sarah Idan, Miss Iraq, and her family members were forced to flee her country after she posted her photo with her friend and fellow contestant Adar Gandelsman, the Israeli contestant in the Miss Universe International Beaty Pageant held in Las Vegas, US, last month, reports World Israel News. Idan is only the second Iraqi to ever participate in the Miss Universe pageant, the first one since Wijdan Burhan El-Deen Sulyman did so in 1972.

In the Instagram post they also wished all “love and peace”. The post invited the wrath of Islamists in her country who not only trolled the 27-year-old but issued threats. Idan’s reply to some hostile comments that her desire for peace “does not signal support for the government of Israel and does not mean I agree or accept its policies in the Arab homeland” did not satisfy them. She even apologized to all who thought it “harmful to the Palestinian cause.” However, she did not remove the photo from her account.

According to the report, Idan’s participation in the swimsuit competition of the event also aroused great anger, forcing her family to leave Baghdad temporarily after being threatened by their more conservative relatives after that preliminary round of the competition. Miss Israel told a news channel that her friend’s relatives have now been forced to leave Iraq because of the anger over the picture, as well as ones of her modeling in a bikini.

“The two of those things together 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,” Adar Gandelsman told the channel.

Idan already lives in the US, having moved there after serving as a linguist with the American-led coalition forces in Baghdad in 2009. She graduated from Los Angeles’ Musician Institute with a degree in performance arts.