The family of Miss Iraq, Sarah Idan, has been forced to flee the country after the beauty queen posted her selfies with Miss Israel.
The Miss Universe pageant contestant was criticised in her homeland after she posted photos on social media with Miss Israel, Adar Gandelsman.
During the competition, held in Las Vegas last month, the two beauty queens uploaded images of themselves on their respective Instagram accounts.
Miss Idan captioned the photo: “Peace and Love from Miss Iraq and Miss Israel.”
Both images received more than 5,000 likes each, but also attracted abusive comments.
Aside the photo of the two women, pictures of Miss Idan posing in a bikini also posted on social media further exacerbated bad feeling in Iraq.
Miss Gandelsman told Israeli TV that the posted pictures had caused a mess for her friend back home.
“While Iraq does not have formal diplomatic relations with Israel, and the two countries are considered enemies, 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,” Miss Gandelsman told Israeli TV.
Miss Idan did not remove the photo and defended the post on the social media site in Arabic.
She wrote: “I want to stress that the purpose of the picture was only to express hope and desire for peace between the two countries.”
The 27-year-old added the photo “does not signal support for the government of Israel and does not mean I agree or accept its policies in the Arab homeland”.
She went on to apologise to all those who consider the picture harmful to the Palestinian cause.
The country where Miss Idan is hiding was not disclosed, but they are believed to be in the United States.