Anila BaigAnila Baig

Anila is a feature writer in the tabloid The Sun and was formerly a columnist with the Yorkshire Post, which she joined in 1998. In 2004 she won the Press Gazette’s Regional Newspaper Columnist of the Year 2004 – the citation noted ‘At last, relaxed, humorous writing about issues so often dominated by political correctness. Anila’s columns have an easy, light touch. She never takes herself or her subject matter too seriously, and thus gets her message across”. At the Yorkshire Post she covered a variety of topics, from TV reviews to local news and community issues.

In a recent article she observed, ‘every Muslim woman is my sister, every Muslim man is my brother and no, I am not secretly dating a member of Hamas. Things I didn’t care about before now irk me like the men who shake my hand though I am clearly a woman. But the man at security is still baffled. ‘But why do you lot have to keep your hair covered?’ he asks. I think for a second, flash him a smile and say: ‘Because we’re worth it’.”
On joining The Sun she declared, Don’t be put off by the picture of me. I’m just a gal who likes to hide her highlights under a bushel – or a headscarf”.

After the youth disturbances in her hometown Bradford in June 2001, she wrote, “I woke up to discover my beloved Bradford had been burning. Images of police in riot gear and Asian boys, faces in purdah and hurling missiles, were flashed across the world. Burned out cars are strewn across the road like broken promises. Nothing has worked. Even the traffic lights have given up. Community leaders speak of unspeakable disgust. After going round in circles we have wound up back at square one. But this was not Islam. Muslims would have packed the mosques at the obligatory prayer times, not mixed Molotov cocktails and stared at police. And their heads would have been covered, not their faces. Shame, anger, disgust. We condemn the actions of the mindless thugs who have brought this nightmare back to Bradford. Yes, Asian boy, the world is racist. Yes, the National Front was stirring. But you and you alone, have made things a thousand times worse”.