Nadiya Hussain says "I love being British" as she opens up about dealing with anti-Islamic abuse on a daily basis
Talking to Kirsty Young on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, the winner of last year’s The Great British Bake Off, Nadiya Hussain, revealed how she experiences racist abuse on a daily basis.
“It sounds really silly (but) it feels like that’s become a part of my life now, I expect it,” Nadiya said.
“I expect to be shoved or pushed or verbally abused, because it happens, it’s happened for years.”
Since her Bake Off win last autumn, which was watched by 15 million people, the hijab-wearing housewife has been credited with having a positive impact on race relations in the UK.
Nadiya was the latest castaway on Radio 4’s long-running show. The mum-of-three, who was born in Luton to Bangladeshi parents, also talked to about unexpectedly becoming a role model after her win, happy times in Bangladesh and meeting her husband.
While talking about how she has handled the abuse, the 31-year-old told host Kirsty Young that she refused to retaliate because she didn’t want her children “to have a negative attitude to living in the UK.”
“I feel like there’s a dignity in silence, and I think if I retaliate to negativity with negativity, then we’ve evened out,” she said. “And I don’t need to even that out because if somebody’s being negative, I need to be the better person.
“Because I’ve got young children, the one thing I don’t want my kids to do is have a negative attitude to living in the UK because, yes, there are those negative people, but they are the minority.”
She added: “I love being British and I love living here and this is my home and it always will be. Regardless of all the other things that define me, this is my home. And I want my kids to be proud of that, and I don’t want my kids to grow up with a chip on their shoulder.
“So I live as positively as I can and all those things that do happen to me, hey, it happens but it happens to other people too and we deal with it.”
Among the songs Nadiya chose to take to a desert island were Pachelbel’s Canon, Bob Marley’s No Woman, No Cry and Counting Crows’ Accidentally in Love, songs that remind her of her children, father and husband, respectively.
To coincide with the return of The Great British Bake Off, Nadiya will star in BBC1 documentary The Chronicles of Nadiya, which sees her go on a food-inspired journey from her birthplace of Luton to her family’s village in north-east Bangladesh.
The Great British Bake Off returns to BBC1 on Wednesday, August 24 at 8pm.
The Chronicles of Nadiya follows on BBC1 on Wednesday, August 24 at 9pm.