Belfast Telegraph

Nadiya Hussain was worried she was Bake Off's 'token Muslim'

Nadiya Hussain was completely unaware of how accepting Britain is until she became the "token Muslim" on The Great British Bake Off.

Nadiya Hussain was initially concerned when she won a place on The Great British Bake Off that she'd been enlisted to be the show's "token Muslim".

The 32-year-old emerged victorious on the 2015 series, after a rocky start to her time in the tent. She has since gone on to launch her own successful cookery career, with books and TV shows under her belt, but admits in a new interview with the Radio Times that she was worried she would be solely identified by her religion.

"I certainly didn't enter a baking show in the hope of representing anyone," she told the magazine. "Being a Muslim for me was incidental, but from the day the show was launched, I was 'the 30-year-old Muslim' and that became my identity."

And having that identity forced upon her was a difficult concept for Nadiya to cope with.

"I struggled at the beginning, because I thought: 'Am I the token Muslim?'" she admitted. "I'd never, in all my years, been labelled like that.

"I heard it constantly, 'Oh, she's the Muslim, she's the Muslim'... And I was so shocked by the amount of negative comments I got."

However, Nadiya insists that while she was left stunned by some of the negativity surrounding her appearance on the show, and her success since, she doesn't let the haters get her down because they're in the minority.

"We are so much more accepting than that: I never realised Britain had such open arms," she mused.

Nadiya can next be seen launching her BBC TV show Nadiya's British Food Adventure on 17 July (17), with a book of the same name set for release alongside the series.

She will also host BBC Two show The Big Family Cooking Showdown this autumn.

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