The election of Scotland’s first top political leader from an ethnic minority background has been hailed as a “significant moment” and a step forward in ensuring fair representation in a diverse society.
Humza Yousaf will be the first person from an ethnic minority background to be the nation’s first minister and the first Muslim to lead the country – as well as the youngest ever first minister.
The 37-year-old’s election has been hailed as “momentous” for Scotland and the UK.
The Muslim Council of Britain said it hopes he can be “a source of great unity across communities”.
The organisation’s secretary-general, Zara Mohammed, said: “The election of Humza Yousaf is not only momentous for Scotland but also for the United Kingdom – the first leader of a British nation from a Muslim background.
“We hope the new first minister will actively work to address those critical challenges facing communities at this current time and be a source of great unity across communities.
“We look forward to working with the first minister, for the common good.”
The Tell Mama group, which works to tackle anti-Muslim hatred, tweeted: “Fantastic to see politicians in leading roles representing our multicultural and diverse society in the UK and Scotland. Congratulations @HumzaYousaf elected leader of the SNP”.
Political opponents also recognised the significance of Yousaf’s election.
Anas Sarwar, the leader of Scottish Labour in Holyrood, said: “While I question his mandate and the SNP’s record, it is important to reflect on the election of what will be the first, first minister from an ethnic minority background.
“Regardless of your politics, this is a significant moment for Scotland.”
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer sent his congratulations, saying: “The first first minister of an ethnic minority background is a significant moment for Scotland.”
Lawyer and activist, Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu, noted that three British Asian men are now in prominent positions in UK politics.
She tweeted: “Humza Yousaf – 1st British Asian Scottish First Minister. Rishi Sunak – 1st British Asian UK Prime Minister. Sadiq Khan – 1st British Asian London Mayor.”
Khan, who became the capital’s first Muslim mayor, said the significance of Yousaf’s election “cannot be understated”.
He tweeted: “Congratulations @HumzaYousaf on your election as new SNP leader. As Scotland’s first ethnic minority First Minister, the significance of this moment cannot be understated. Scotland and London have much in common, and I look forward to working with you.”