Saira Khan has responded to an Instagram user who criticised her decision to bare her "precious" body parts. The Loose Women panellist and her co-stars recently stripped down to bikinis and swimming costumes for a body confidence campaign, posing in un-airbrushed photos. Saira was called out by a Muslim man, who said he was "disgraced" to see a Muslim woman reveal herself in public. He said he was "sad" that Saira took pride in showing off her body, and concluded by saying it was his "duty" to speak out as a fellow brother.
Saira has since responded to the message by writing a heated post on Instagram, standing up for her decision. The 46-year-old star wrote: "I was brought up to not judge others – it's a basic requirement for Muslims – I feel so sorry for people like this who are so threatened by a woman's body – this is not a "sexual" campaign – it's one to empower women, for us to feel good about ourselves and our imperfections – it's my choice to do this and if Allah doesn't like it – let him deal with me." She went on to thank her "amazing Muslim followers" and said to those who keep reminding her that she is "not a Muslim" for her behaviour: "If a woman in a bikini offends your version of Islam –then seriously you should not be looking in the first place."
Saira responded: "This is not a 'sexual' campaign – it's one to empower women"
The mum-of-two was one of nine Loose Women panellists who bared their bodies for the campaign over the weekend. Bryan Adams photographed the inspiring ladies, without filters or airbrushing, in the hope that women around the nation will celebrate their "flaws". Of the campaign, Saira said: "Coming from a Muslim background you had to hide your body and could not expose your skin. I was brought up with the mentality to not draw attention to my body. I battled against my curves when I was younger as I didn't want boys to notice me for being sexy – I was brought up to never bare my skin in front of men – it took me a long time not to feel guilty for wearing a dress or baring my arms."
The Loose Women panellists bared their bodies for the campaign
The former Apprentice star, who was sexually abused by her uncle when she was 13, said her teenage experience "led to a disconnect between sexuality and my body". Saira concluded: "I have never done a bikini shoot but I'm really excited and honoured to be part of this campaign, and to just be honest with other women about how I am."