Former Miss Iraq Sarah Idan spoke about her experience as a former beauty queen, who is now a peace activist on Al-Arabiya Network (Dubai/Saudi Arabia) on January 12, 2021. She said that she founded the Humanity Forward organization in order to improve relations between Jews and Muslims and facilitate peace between Arab countries and Israel. She said that many Iraqi activists support her cause and understand that Israel is not an enemy of Iraq. Idan explained that she cannot visit Iraq today, because activists who have criticized the militias in Iraq have been killed. Sarah Idan was crowned Miss Universe Iraq in 2017. During the Miss Universe competition, she posted a photo of herself with Miss Universe Israel. She received multiple death threats for this and was forced to leave Iraq. She is currently living in the United States.
Interviewer: "We met before, when you were crowned [as 'Miss Iraq']. Today, Sarah, you have become more than a pretty face. You command a presence, you have your opinions, and more. Tell us about the foundation that you established."
Sarah Idan: "I founded this organization around 2018. The main reason was that I wanted to improve relations between Jews and Muslims, because after what I experienced, I realized that there are very big problems between the two religions. This bothered me a lot. So I established this foundation in order to improve relations between them and in order to promote peace between the two religions and between the Arab countries and Israel.
"I have found myself under attack since I took a picture with Miss Israel. It was just a picture, not something that justifies the death threats I received and the threats against my family.
"I have many Iraqi followers, and I get many comments and messages from them. Many people stand with me, because we share the same vision… You know the situation in Iraq. It is Iran and the [pro-Iranian] militias that control Iraq now. The majority of Iraqis do not want these militias and this terrorism. When I went to the United Nations, I did not speak about Israel, but about these militias, and that Iraq should be an independent country, governed by the Iraqis themselves. Most of the activists and the people in the media are with me. We share the same goal. In addition, Israel is also against Iran, and [these people] can see that, and they do not see Israel as their enemy, as opposed to Iran."
Interviewer: "But naturally there are people who oppose you, right?"
Idan: "Those who oppose me are only those whom in Iraq we call 'Iran's lackeys.' They are Iran's Lackeys."
Interviewer: "This is a very controversial issue, and naturally those who oppose you would disagree, but let's not get into that. Okay, it is you who call them 'Iran's lackeys.' Some people write to you – as you surely see – comments like: 'You are Miss Iraq, stick to [issues of] beauty', and 'Why do you get involved in politics?', and so forth."
Idan: "I don't know the Arabic word to describe such comments, but [in English] we call them 'sexist.' It is the notion that women care only about beauty and the way they look, and that they have no brains…"
Interviewer: "Discrimination against women."
Idan: "Yes, exactly. I don't care about these comments, I know who I am, I know my capabilities, so I don't care."
Interviewer: "Can you visit Iraq today? Aren't you afraid of the threats?"
Idan: "I cannot visit Iraq, and it's not only me. Many Iraqi activists that I know were forced to leave [Iraq] because of the threats. You can see in the news that anyone who stayed in Iraq and spoke out against the militias was killed. It is dangerous for me to return to Iraq. I cannot return there."