Humza Yousaf Has Become Scotland’s First Muslim And Person Of Color Leader

Humza Yousaf is the son of first generation Pakistani immigrants.

Humza Yousaf Has Become Scotland’s First Muslim And Person Of Color Leader

Humza Yousaf, Scotland’s health minister and the son of first generation Pakistani immigrants, has been elected by the Scottish National Party as Scotland’s new First Minister.

Newly elected leader of the Scottish National Party, Humza Yousaf attends the Scottish Parliament on March 28, 2023 in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

37-year-old Yousaf will take over from Nicola Sturgeon, who unexpectedly resigned in February after eight years in office.

Yousaf beat out finance minister Kate Forbes by 52% to 48% of the votes. A third candidate was eliminated in the first round of voting.

In his victory speech, Yousaf paid tribute to his late grandparents, who immigrated to Scotland from Punjab more than 60 years ago.

“As Mohammed Yousaf, worked in the singer Sewing machine factory in Clay Bank, as Rahmat Ali Bhutta stamped tickets on the Glasgow Corporation buses they could not have imagined, as I say, in the wildest dreams that two generations later that their grandson would one day be on the cusp of being Scotland’s First Minister,” he said.

Humza Yousaf, with his family, friends and colleagues in the Garden Lobby after being voted the new First Minister at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh. Picture date: Tuesday March 28, 2023. (Photo by Jane Barlow/PA Images via Getty Images)

“We should all take pride in the fact that today we have sent a clear message that your colour of skin or indeed your faith is not a barrier to leading the country that we all call home,” he added. “From the Punjab to our parliament, this is a journey over generations that reminds us we should be celebrating and always celebrate the migrants who contribute so much to our country.”

He has pledged to continue pushing forward the work that Sturgeon started, including Scottish independence and the gender recognition bill, which was blocked by the UK government.

Newly appointed leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP), Humza Yousaf reacts as he hears he has won the the SNP Leadership election vote, during the result announcement at Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh on March 27, 2023. (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Yousaf was the only candidate out of the three vying for leadership who backed the bill, which would have made it easier for people in Scotland to legally change their gender just through a declaration.

Yousaf said his own background – born in Glasgow, with a father from Pakistan and mother from Kenya – and views are examples of an inclusive, socially liberal and multi-ethnic Scotland.

“To those in Scotland who don’t yet share the passion I do for independence, I will aim to earn your trust by continuing to govern well,” Yousaf said.

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