Great British Bake Off: Fans defend Nadiya Hussain against 'politically correct' jibes

Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain Image copyright Press Association

Britain's ultimate TV baking contest. the Great British Bake Off, reached its zenith on Wednesday. The victor was a Luton-born 30-year-old mum-of-three, who baked a "big fat British wedding cake" adorned with jewels from her own wedding day as the showstopper in Wednesday's final.

But Nadiya Hussain's Muslim background became the focus for some newspaper columnists. Before the final, the Daily Mail columnist Amanda Platell claimed white contestant Flora Shedden didn't have a hope with her chocolate carousel in the semi-finals whereas "if she'd made a chocolate mosque, she'd have stood a better chance". After the victory, The Sun's TV columnist Ally Ross claimed BBC executives "no doubt did a multi-cultural jig of politically-correct joy" when judges Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry crowned Nadiya their winner.

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Online, the Great British Bake Off has a huge fan base - with over 300,000 tweets sent about the final programme alone. The majority of fans rapidly rallied behind Hussain. "Hold tight political correctness, hold tight chocolate mosques," said one, while another added "chocolate mosque is the new humble pie". Times columnist Sathnam Sanghera tweeted "people of colour know how this works: you apply yourself, prove your talent and then have your success deemed pc". Although not everyone supported that view, with @GeneGenieGene writing: "The Great British Bake Off is old, stale & stinks of BBC PC madness!".

Image copyright Michael Deacon

Hussain's Muslim fans also discussed her identity, with some considerable measure of pride. She is a British Muslim of Bangladeshi heritage. Within minutes of the result being announced, fellow Muslim @b4by007 tweeted "She won!!!! So awesome to see Nadia, a Muslim girl win such a British competition! Respect to her x". British Pakistani Sohail Ahmed added "Nadiya wins the Great British Bake Off! So immensely proud. Thank you for representing Muslims up and down the country."

Other tweeters claimed Hussain's identity as a Muslim was inconsequential to her victory. Pritha Bardhan tweeted: "Jeez, give Nadiya Hussain a break. She won the Great British Bake Off because she's able not because she's a Muslim woman. Her soda can cake & choco peacock were amazing" while @nonwatcyn added "I'm confused with all refs today to Nadiya winning Great British Bake Off as a Muslim - thought she won it as best baker… or not?"

Finally Hanna Hanafiah ‏concluded "she won. She won because of her baking skills. Anything else detracts from that fact".

Blog by Jonathan Griffin

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