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December 21, 2018 2:19 pm

Former Miss Iraq Still Getting Death Threats, Including From Hamas, for Taking Picture With Miss Israel

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

Adar Gandelsman and Sarah Idan. Photo: Instagram.

Former Miss Iraq Sarah Idan is still being targeted with death threats a year after the controversy that erupted at the 2017 beauty pageant when she took a picture with her Israeli counterpart, Adar Gendelsman.

Idan, who is Muslim and was the first Miss Iraq in 45 years, started getting attacked on social media last year after posting the selfie on Instagram along with the caption, “Peace and Love from Miss Iraq and Miss Israel.” She refused to delete the photo despite pressure to do so from her Iraqi sponsors, including the director of the Miss Iraq Organization, and among the death threats that are still coming in are some from the terrorist group Hamas, according to the New York Post.

Idan, 28, and Gendelsman remain close and talk regularly. The friends were reunited when Idan visited Israel in June 2018 to speak about the importance of dialogue, and together they gave a speech about peace at a major gathering in Jerusalem.

Idan, who grew up in Baghdad, was forced to flee Iraq with her family to ensure their safety after the controversy involving the selfie with Gendelsman. She said her family now live in a Middle Eastern country but Idan will not reveal which one for fear of their lives, the New York Post reported.

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Idan is currently in New York City recording music alongside Jewish and Israeli producers. She aims to promote messages of unity and hope, and her new song “Silence” is about suffering in Darfur and Syria. Israeli producer Irit Tenhengel told the New York Post about Idan and the track, “She’s the best one for the song. I can get any big artist — but she walks the walk. And the world is silent. No one cares” that Idan is an outspoken voice for those who are silenced, he explained.

Iraq does not recognize Israel and the two countries do not have any formal diplomatic relations. However, Israel does have warm relations with Iraq’s Kurdish community, which the Jewish state backed in its independence bid in 2017.

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