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Channel 4 accused of religious "insensitivity" by SAS: Who Dares Wins contestant

·3-min read
Photo credit: Channel 4
Photo credit: Channel 4

Channel 4 has responded after a contestant accused its programme SAS: Who Dares Wins of not taking her religion into account on the show.

Shireen Khan, who appeared in last night's (May 9) episode, called the show an "incredible experience and something that will live with me forever" but claimed in the Mail Online that "cultural insensitivity towards my Muslim faith and being a woman, held me back".

She explained that she could not strip off after a challenge due to her faith and had to keep on wet clothes, risking hypothermia. She also stated that she wasn't comfortable using an outdoor bucket as a toilet while men were around, and was offered a vegetarian meal rather than a halal one. These scenes did not air on screen.

Photo credit: Channel 4
Photo credit: Channel 4

Related: Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins caught out by viewers who claim one task was 'edited'

"I believe that there needs to be greater diversity on the show and the only way you can do that is by being more aware of cultural sensitivities," she added. "These are all barriers that are preventing people from diverse backgrounds from participating in Who Dares Wins and even joining the British Armed Forces.

"The programme has already had problems around Ant Middleton, and I feel that Channel 4 need to address the issues that I'm raising."

Shireen was the first person eliminated from the competition after struggling to carry a heavy load up a mountain, claiming that: "What I was carrying should have been proportionate to my body weight. There were male contestants who weighed a lot more than that and it was a lot easier for them... The programme makers need to take these kinds of things into consideration.

"Being called 'cupcake' and 'gym bunny' is very patronising and condescending."

Photo credit: Channel 4
Photo credit: Channel 4

In response, Channel 4 issued a statement that reads: "SAS: Who Dares Wins is now in its sixth series. All the recruits are fully aware that by being part of the programme, they will be immersed in an authentic SAS Selection experience. 

"They are fully briefed about what to expect and encouraged to watch previous episodes of the series, where they will see that all recruits are treated the same, regardless of gender, race or ethnicity.

"Shireen's dietary requirements were discussed with her prior to taking part in the series and she requested a vegetarian option, which was honoured. However, as she was only on the course for a very short time, she did not have the opportunity to eat her chosen meal."

Photo credit: HGL - Getty Images
Photo credit: HGL - Getty Images

Last night's episode featured Ant Middleton, having been filmed before he was removed from the show at the beginning of March following a numberof controversies.

SAS: Who Dares Wins airs on Channel 4.

Watch: Hijab-wearing firefighter feels proud 'to have broken down a barrier'

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