Humza Yousaf is Time’s frontpage as a next generation “trailblazer” and “the new face of Scotland”.
The magazine features Scotland’s First Minister among its list of “rising stars” noting him as the country’s youngest leader and first from an ethnic minority background.
He is also the first Muslim politician elected to lead a Western democracy.
In the profile the 38-year-old described seeing his official portrait hanging in the stairwell of the First Minister’s official residence Bute House.
“I really stand out because I look different,” he told Time.
“It was really emotional. I remember looking at it and thinking, almost whatever happens now… mine will always be the one that looks different.”
As the SNP faces difficulty with the ongoing police investigation into its finances, in-fighting over controversial policies and the struggle to deliver its core aim of independence, Yousaf said he had a “tough job” ahead of him.
He told Time how he remembers suffering racist abuse at school, including being bombarded with questions about the motives of the perpetrators of 9/11 in the wake of the terrorist attack when he was 16 years old.
“That, to me, was an important moment because my Muslim identity came to the fore—partly because people were questioning it, were asking about what it meant in terms of my loyalty to this country,” he said.
Yousaf said the SNP would be willing to strike a deal with Labour to get the Conservatives out of government at the next UK general election in return for a second independence vote.
“Being attached to this unequal union,” he told Time, “is what’s holding us back.”
Yousaf was nominated as one of Time’s 100 Next by Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar who said his “door was always open” to Yousaf.
He described Yousaf as a “young, energetic leader” who serves the Scottish people with “the passion and dedication they deserve”.
Other leaders on the list include Maltese politician Roberta Metsola, the youngest-ever president of the European Parliament, and NASA astronaut Victor J. Glover, Jr.
The list also includes actor Paul Mescal, singer and actress Maya Hawke and rapper Ice Spice.
Explaining why he nominated Yousaf, Varadkar said: “I was pleased to meet First Minister Humza Yousaf for the first time recently at the British-Irish Council.
“We had a constructive meeting in which we pledged to continue to nurture the very positive relationship between Ireland and Scotland.
“We will work together to further deepen the links between our two countries from an economic and cultural point of view.”
He added: “Humza, as the first South Asian leader of Scotland and the first Muslim leader of a Western democracy, has spoken of his belief that coming from a minority background gives him an important perspective when working to make his country a better and more equal place.
“I can identify with this, and I am pleased to say that Ireland has become a more progressive and equal country in recent years.
“My door is always open to Humza to discuss issues of shared interest between our countries.”
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