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Anorak | Half Baked: they’ve turned Bake Off winner Nadiya into a Muslim role model and given us the mould

Half Baked: they’ve turned Bake Off winner Nadiya into a Muslim role model and given us the mould

by | 10th, October 2015

Nadiya Jamir Hussain won the Great British Bake Off, a BBC TV show for competitive amateur cake makers. The BBC presents as news. But it’s even more than that. It’s a moral lesson. Nadiya wears a scarf on her head. It’s not new kind of apron or a teflon-coated chef’s hat. It’s a head scarf, as worn by some Muslim women, of which she is one.

The Mail sees the look:

Nadiya is already a heroine in her home town of Luton where she’s seen as a glowing role model for young Muslims at a time when the immigrant community is struggling to shake off the dark spectre of Islamic extremism.

Put down your bombs, your spliffs and your iPads. Pick up your lemons.

‘I was a bit nervous that perhaps people would look at me, a Muslim in a headscarf, and wonder if I could bake,’ she says. ‘But I hope that people have realised that I can — and just because I’m not a stereotypical British person, it doesn’t mean that I am not into bunting, cake and tea.’

Cake and spite. It’s he British staple diet. It’s won wars.

‘I’m just as British as anyone else, and I hope I have proved that.’

Who needs to find a token ethnic face for the BBC to pat on the head when Nadiya is so willing to place her cakes at the vanguard of Britishness.

Still, the Mail manages to up the stakes. Get a load of this utter balls:

 

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More sugary balls, modom?

 

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As a liberal Muslim woman myself, I admit that I was also initially put off by Nadiya’s headscarf and severe look.  Yet by winning the show with such grace, humour and dignity, Nadiya has done more to further the cause of Asian women — and men — than countless government policies, think-tanks, initiatives and councils put together have achieved in the past half-century.

It’s a Nadiya and me story.

Of course, we have many other Muslim role models — Mo Farah, Olympic gold medallist, Moeen Ali, the England cricketer, Mishal Hussain, presenter on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Rageh Omaar, TV reporter, Sajid Javid, the Business Secretary, and Baroness Sayeeda Warsi.

She’s not a role model. She’s a woman who entered an amateur TV cooking show who happens to Muslim. Islam played no part in her baking , or did we miss the bit where she makes a chocolate prayer mat? Are Muslims who enter other telly shows – Mastermind, Big Brother, Pointless – doing it for their God?

But it is Nadiya, baker of beautiful cakes, who has, in my view, turned the image of British Muslims upon its head.

Who knew they could work an oven?

Muslims who are burning with anger or, at the least, disillusioned with life in Britain should learn from Nadiya. I know I have.

Don’t burn with anger – turn down the temperature and simmer. And Yasmin, are your sponge fingers better than Before Nadiya (BN)?

And – hold on – is this a parody? Is that you, Craig Brown?

I once wrote about good Muslim men, among them some uncles and cousins who treasured their wives and encouraged them in their education and ambitions.
Afterwards Sadiq Khan, Labour candidate for the London Mayoral election, wrote and thanked me for my article.

Haha. Who knew Muslim women could do satire so well? Haha.

We all owe Nadiya a debt of gratitude, not just for entertaining us with her pastries and sponges, but for teaching us what it is to be British in 2015.

Rule, Nadiya… Nadiya rules the airwaves…



Posted: 10th, October 2015 | In: Key Posts, News Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink