July 20, 2019

Former Miss Iraq Says Iraqi Gov’t Is Attempting to Revoke Her Citizenship Over Support for Israel

Sarah Idan, who was Miss Iraq in 2017, told the Journal in a July 10 phone interview that the Iraqi government is setting forth the process to revoke her citizenship over recent comments supporting Israel.

Idan announced what was happening in a July 9 tweet:

The tweet links to a report from Baghdad Today saying that Member of Parliament Ali al-Ghanmi, who is part of the Iraqi parliament’s Security and Defense Committee, was calling for the government to revoke Idan’s citizenship under current law. Idan explained to the Journal that Iraqi law punishes those who speak out in support of Israel and al-Ghanmi set the process in motion to have the government revoke her citizenship.

“I think [the Iraqi government], they were more pissed off about what I said about Hamas, calling them a terrorist organization,” Idan said, referencing her June speech at the United Nations where she slammed the slanted media coverage against Israel. She speculated that the efforts to revoke her citizenship were likely at the behest of Iran, which funds Hamas.

If Idan’s citizenship is revoked, she won’t be allowed to enter the country. Idan and her family fled the country in 2017 after receiving death threats over posting an Instagram with the 2017 Miss Israel. For Idan, she’s more upset about the Iraqi government’s efforts to strip away her identity.

“I cannot claim any rights as an Iraqi person, and I even speak, they will say, ‘She is not an Iraqi, she does not speak for the Iraqi people,’” Idan said, adding that “erasing my identity for supporting Israel and being against anti-Semitism, that’s just wrong.”

U.N. Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer wrote a letter to United Nations Human Rights Council President Coly Seck on July 10 to enforce U.N. resolutions protecting those who provided testimony at U.N. sessions from intimidation from countries who are part of the international body. Neuer urged Seck to condemn “Iraq for this prohibited intimidation and reprisal” as well as “bring MP al-Ghanmi and any other perpetrators to justice, and provide access to effective remedies for Ms. Idan.”

Idan said she reached out to the U.N. and the United States government on the matter but hasn’t heard from either.

She added that the Iraqi government is attempting to silence her, but she’ll continue to speak out.

“There is nothing they can do to stop me from talking about supporting Israel and talking against anti-Semitism,” Idan said.