Miss Iraq stirs up controversy after posting a video with Miss Israel

A picture taken on November 21, 2017 shows a picture posted by the Instagram profile of Sarah Idan and Adar Gandelsman. (AFP)
Updated 14 June 2018
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Miss Iraq stirs up controversy after posting a video with Miss Israel

DUBAI: Former Miss Iraq beauty queen, Sarah Idan, stirred controversy over her friendship with former Miss Israel Adar Gandelsman after posting a video with her in Jerusalem.

Idan had been widely criticized in 2017 for posting a picture with her Israeli counterpart on the sidelines of their Miss Universe contest in the United States and even received death threats.

Miss Iraq refused at the time to delete the photo of Gandelsman, but published a statement explaining that she does not support the Israeli government or their policies in the Middle East, and apologized to anyone who believed it “to be an attack on the Palestinian cause.”

Earlier this week, Idan published more than one picture with Miss Israel, in addition to a video with her, commenting: “Shalom/ Peace from Jerusalem.”


Baghdad gun shops thrive after Iraqi rethink on arms control

Updated 19 August 2018
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Baghdad gun shops thrive after Iraqi rethink on arms control

  • Shop owner sees increasing demand from women, says self-defence is main reason for buying
  • Customer says legalized gun sales will act as crime deterrent

BAGHDAD: In the middle of Baghdad’s busy commercial neighborhood of Karrada, where most retail outlets sell home appliances, shoppers can now also buy handguns and semi-automatic rifles legally for the first time in decades.
After the toppling of Saddam Hussein in 2003, illegal weapons trade flourished across the country. Looted guns from ransacked police stations and military bases were sold in streets and public areas to residents seeking to protect themselves in a state that was largely lawless.
The authorities have since been battling to curb illegal weapon sales and the government has stepped up efforts to control gun ownership through regulation.
The latest initiative came into force this summer and allows citizens to own and carry handguns, semi-automatic rifles and other assault weapons after obtaining official authorization and an identity card that also details the individual’s weapons.
Previously, gun sales were restricted to firearms for hunting and sport.
Hamza Maher opened his new gun shop in Karrada after receiving official approval from the Interior Ministry and says there has been growing demand for his wares.
“Customers are mainly men, but the number of women buyers is growing,” said Maher inside his shop, where a variety of pistols and assault rifles are on display.
“The reason for buying is self-defense, and it’s safer for citizens to buy a weapon from an authorized store instead of from an unknown source.”
Pistol prices in Maher’s shop range from $1,000 to $4,000, while Kalashnikov assault rifles can be had from as little as $400 up to $2,000, depending on the brand and manufacturing origin, he said.
Haider Al-Suhail, a tribal sheikh from Baghdad, welcomed the legalization of gun stores.
“Yes, it will decrease crime,” he said on a visit to Maher’s shop to buy assault rifles for his ranch guards. “The criminal who plans to attack others will understand that he will pay heavy price.”